Public Outrage Over High Electricity Bills Triggers Emergency Meeting with Pakistani PM

0
272

Public anger has swept across Pakistan in response to surging electricity bills, prompting caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar to call an emergency meeting. Frustrated citizens have threatened demonstrations and civil disobedience if the additional taxes on their bills are not revoked.

Various parts of the country, including Karachi, Gujranwala, Peshawar, and Toba Tek Singh, witnessed protests against the exorbitant power bills. Roads were blocked, power bills were burned, and legal challenges against perceived injustice were announced.

The national average tariff was recently increased by approximately Rs5 per unit. On August 22, the government sought to further raise the power rate by Rs3.55 per unit. These increases have had a significant impact on consumers’ daily lives, making it difficult for them to afford essential expenses such as school fees and rent.

Former parliamentarian Nafisa Shah criticized the high electricity bills, calling them “backbreaking” and “unacceptable.” She advocated for alternative sources of energy, such as solar, hydel, wind, and local coal, that would be more cost-effective for the public.

In Rawalpindi, citizens protested against the high electricity bills, decrying the unjust increases. One protester expressed his dissatisfaction with his bill of Rs84,000, later adjusted to Rs54,000, while another threatened a nationwide strike by traders if the taxes were not reversed.

Complaints also emerged from Islamabad, where citizens expressed frustration over skyrocketing electricity bills that have robbed them of their happiness. The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) even sought police protection for its staff and property, fearing adverse reactions from irate consumers.

In Peshawar, a cobbler voiced his distress at receiving a bill of Rs16,424 despite a daily income of only Rs600. Protests have compelled the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) to instruct its staff to refrain from using non-essential vehicles on the roads until the situation is normalized.

In Lahore, a rickshaw driver condemned the government for his bill of Rs10,300, which exceeds his daily earnings. He lamented the destructive impact that inflation and high energy costs have had on him and his family.

Activist Ammar Ali Jan announced plans for a campaign against electricity bills in Lahore, urging coordinated action across the country to demand relief for the salaried class and an end to privileges enjoyed by the elite.

Shopkeepers in Karachi, particularly in Karimabad Market, complained about reduced business and the burden of daily bills. Frustrated with the situation, protests have ensued.

Traders allegedly attacked K-Electric employees in Karachi, prompting the CEO to demand legal action against the perpetrators.

In Quetta, a daily wage earner pleaded with the government to control inflation, expressing deep concern over the rising cost of living.

Protests in Multan were emotionally charged, with demonstrators tying their electricity bills to donkeys as they marched in protest against the government.

K-Electric spokesperson Awais Rasheed Munshi clarified that the electricity company does not control the rising prices and taxes, as electricity costs are regulated by Nepra and the power ministry.

The surging electricity costs have trapped power companies in a cycle of declining consumption, forcing the government to propose staggered imposition of charges to minimize the price shock for consumers. The government has requested additional quarterly charges of Rs146 billion to be implemented over six months instead of three.

These protests highlight the urgent need for the Pakistani government to address the concerns of its citizens regarding high electricity bills and seek sustainable solutions to ensure affordable and accessible energy for all.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here