Reports of second petrol price hike on June 8 are false

Fake news causes bad traffic jams across Pakistan’s major cities

By and

Claim: According to news reports, there will be a second hike of between PKR 25-40 in petrol prices, just days after the government increased prices by PKR 30 per litre.

Fact: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail denied reports that a second price hike will take place on June 7, saying, “There will be no increase in prices today and there is no summary or plan to raise prices.”

On 7 June, Facebook page ‘News Curators’ reported that the Shehbaz Sharif government had “approved” a hike in petrol prices which would bring the new rate to PKR 237.56 per litre. The caption accompanying the post stated that a notice about the upward revision of PKR 27 per litre had been greenlit, and that the new prices would be “applied from 12 am”.

The text in the visual uploaded by ‘News Curators‘ is as follows:

“PETROL PRICES INCREASES TO 237.56. SHAHBAZ SHARIF APPROVED THE NOTICE, NEW PRICES OF PETROL WILL BE APPLIED FROM 12 AM.”

The unconfirmed news reports caused massive traffic jams across various major cities in Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Soch Fact Check team member Sameen Aziz reported that some local taxi drivers in the capital city bumped up their fares owing to the rumours that the per-litre price of petrol was set to increase.

Fact or fiction?

Finance & Revenue Minister Miftah Ismail dispelled the rumours on Tuesday evening, saying on Twitter, “There will be no increase in prices today and there is no summary or plan to raise prices.” Ismail added that TV channels broadcasting such reports “are doing a disservice to their viewers”.

Multiple TV channels and online media outlets, such as The Current, which had earlier reported  news about a price hike, issued corrections.

Pages such as Newsie and FHM also reported the alleged price hike in now-deleted posts.

At the time of publishing, the price of petrol is 209.86 PKR per litre.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the last 24 hours leading up to 7 June 2022 using the following search terms:

  • “Petrol hike Pakistan”
  • “پٹرول 237 تک جا پہنچا”
  • “Petrol 237”
  • “Petrol prices”

The first search term turned up 121,207 interactions across 673 posts, the second one revealed four posts with 4,157 interactions, while the third search term revealed 101 posts with 9,250 interactions on Facebook.

The analysis revealed that on Instagram, the third search term turned up 5,785 interactions across three posts.

Soch Fact Check filtered the fourth search term by limiting the results to Pakistan-only. The search turned up 755,350 interactions across 2,198 posts on Facebook and 536,359 interactions across 400 posts on Instagram.

On Facebook, the claim about the second price hike was shared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

PNP News’ post received 3,000 likes, 397 shares and 26,000 views, while Dekhlo’s post received 1,200 likes and 686 shares. 

On Instagram, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s official account (@ptiofficial) posted a video of Ismail addressing a business conference in Islamabad on 7 June. The post was accompanied by the caption, “‎Miftah Ismail announced that petrol prices will be increased again, leading to more increases in inflation.” The post became fairly popular and received 193,045 views at the time of reporting.

Conclusion: Contrary to misleading claims circulating on social media, a second hike in petrol prices did not take place on June 7.

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