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Over 100 protests held across Karachi against back-breaking power bills

Our Correspondent
Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023

karachi: In response to the Jamaat-e-Islami’s call, over 100 demonstrations were held at markets across Karachi on Monday to protest against the hike in the power tariff that has propelled electricity prices beyond a bearable level for the masses.

It had been agreed upon in the joint huddle hosted by the JI for the representatives of the civil society, lawyers, traders, labour unions and other segments of society, that protests at markets across the city would be held.

Meanwhile, JI Pakistan chief Sirajul Haq has called for observing a strike across the country on September 2 in order to protest against the electricity tariff hike.

Earlier in the day, JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman had addressed a protest demonstration held by traders at the Cooperative Market in Karachi’s Saddar area.

Rehman said on the occasion that the ruling elite had unleashed a mafia named K-Electric on Karachi to con Karachiites. He said KE itself was a defaulter of Rs662 billion to the national grid alone. Similarly, he added, KE is a defaulter of heavy payments to several other organisations.

He also said that large-scale protests across the city are a reflection of the future of the ruling regime. The caretaker government would have to reduce the electricity tariff, eliminate taxes and mitigate inflation, he added.

The JI leader said that KE’s licence should be revoked, and a forensic audit of the company accounts should be carried out. Addressing the KE high-ups, he warned them against threatening Karachiites.

He also told them not to send their staff for cutting off electricity connections until the federal government decides the matter of power tariff and taxes. He said Karachiites do not want to confront the poor KE staff, but the KE mafia wants to use its employees as a tool for untoward incidents in order to force a face-off between the law enforcement agencies and the masses.

Naeem said that the Pakistan People Party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement have also reportedly announced protests against the power tariff hike.

Ironically, he pointed out, these political parties have been notifying increase in the power tariff, and they are completely hand in glove with the KE mafia. He reiterated on the occasion that the JI would observe a complete strike on September 2 if the caretaker government fails to reverse the electricity tariff hike.

MQM-P’s demand

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders on Monday visited various areas of Karachi to hold meetings with business owners, during which traders voiced their concerns about the increasing power tariff and electricity load-shedding.

The MQM-P assured the traders that their complaints regarding the unnecessary taxes added to electricity bills would be raised on every forum. “The MQM-P demands an immediate reversal of this heavy increase,” reads a statement issued by the party.

The visiting party leaders also demanded the immediate withdrawal of the FIRs filed against business owners in reaction to incidents that had occurred during protests.

They urged the federal government, particularly the caretaker prime minister, to provide relief to the people by reversing the increase in electricity bills across the country, specifically in Karachi.

They warned that if the hike in electricity prices is not withdrawn, the MQM-P would be compelled to become part of the public protests. “Together we will continue to advocate for the rights of the people.”

Meanwhile, a party delegation met the protesting traders of the Timber Market to express solidarity with them. The delegation met with representatives of business owners, and conveyed a message of cooperation and unity on behalf of MQM-P Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.