Protests have taken place in many cities in Pakistan in recent days over exorbitant electricity bills. People in Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, all are seen blocking roads, burning tires and raising slogans against the increased electricity prices. It is said that there are lakh notes in the homes of common people there. Let us tell you that on Friday, September 2, 2023, there is a nationwide strike on the issue of electricity rates on the call of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). Meanwhile, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, massive protests are going on by blocking roads against the increased electricity bills.
In fact, Pakistan’s electricity bills have skyrocketed after the government refused to lower electricity prices without International Monetary Fund (IMF) approval. Meanwhile, even after the persuasion of interim Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq, people are demonstrating against the government of Pakistan by burning electricity bills in the streets. People also attacked the offices of the electricity companies.
According to the Al Jazeera report, taxi driver Noorul Amin said: “We are drowning in the flood of inflation. These electricity bills are very high, if I pay the electricity bill this month, I will not be able to feed my three children.”
Mohammad Karamat, a hairdresser by trade, said a bill for 60,000 Pakistani rupees (about $200) has arrived for August, which is outside his bus.
In this case, Pakistan’s Interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi recently said that the Ministry of Energy has finalized a list of proposed measures to provide relief to the people and it will be presented in the federal cabinet meeting for approval.
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ul Haq Kakar had held an emergency meeting and asked officials to take concrete steps within 48 hours to reduce energy tariffs. But so far the Pakistani government has failed to find a solution and Pakistanis have been protesting in the streets for more than a week. At the same time, his cabinet has said that the huge IMF loan will be at risk due to the cutting of the bills, therefore there is no possibility of relief at the moment.
Kakar had said on August 27 that since he represents the common man, steps would be taken to reduce power consumption at PM House and the Pakistan Secretariat. He had further said, “If for this you have to turn off the air conditioner in my room, then turn it off.”
Significantly, the IMF had set tough conditions for Pakistan in July to end energy subsidies and meet revenue targets set for a $3 billion loan, aimed at reviving Pakistan’s impoverished economy, leaving Pakistan’s caretaker government looking helpless.