Pak: Massive Protests Over Inflated Electricity Bills
Following the surge in electricity bills carrying seven different levies, caused widespread protest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, reported The News International.
The people participating in the protest blocked roads and torched the fresh bills. They said they were shocked to see multiple taxes included in their bills and unprecedentedly high rates for consumed units.
They torched the bills and vowed not to pay the charges until these were brought down to an affordable level, The News International reported.
These protests broke out in several parts of Peshawar. The angry power consumers carried their power bills received from Peshawar Electricity Supply Company for the month of July and came out on the streets in the provincial capital.
Additionally, they were holding placards with slogans against the Wapda, Pesco and the Pakistan government.
One of the protests was seen at the Anam Sanam Chowk in Gulbahar area. People protesting over there blocked the square for traffic to enter. Since the traffic was disrupted, people had to face difficulty in reaching their destinations.
The protestors condemned the rise in power tariff and said it was an all-time high, according to The News International. Adding to this, they said that seven different types of taxes and levies have been added to their electricity bills, including Withholding Income Tax.
The consumers also stressed that high inflation has made their lives miserable and the current rising electricity charges had left them shocked.
They also warned of using electricity without paying bills if the government did not take back the unprecedented hike in power charges, reported The News International.
Furthermore, the protestors complained that their jobs and businesses had been affected and their lives had become costlier. They added that the government was only interested in its own luxuries instead of providing relief to the masses.
They also said that the government officials in all the departments were enjoying free electricity and were heavily misusing electricity.
One of the protestors said, “I visited several offices today in the Wapda House, police department, district administration and Civil Secretariat and found air conditioners in every office whether anyone was present in the office or not. We cannot even think of switching on one air conditioner at home for the fear of heavy bills.”
“I have consumed only 200 electricity units and my current bills have reached Rs25,000, said Muhammad Yaqoob, a local resident, adding that it was beyond his capacity to pay the bills within due time.
Another citizen Muhammad Zubair Khan, from the Qamber area of Mingora, said his monthly salary was PKR 25,000 and Pesco had sent him a bill for Rs 27,000. He wondered how he would pay the power bill with his limited resources.
Abdul Rahim, president of All Malakand Traders Federation said, “We will launch an agitation in the entire province. The rulers should not put more burden on the shoulders of poor people, rather they should cut down spending.”
As the protests increased over the hiked power tariff bills against the power companies, the Islamabad Electric Power Supply Company (Iesco) asked the police to provide security to its offices reported the News International.
Earlier this week, several people gathered at the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Rawalakot and torched thousands of electricity bills, Dawn reported.
The demonstration brushed aside a notification issued by the PoK government on Monday in its desperate attempt to defuse the situation.
The protest started over 150 days ago in the town to record protest against the “cruel electricity taxes, unavailability and increase in the prices of wheat flour and some other issues of public concern said the report.
A seven-member committee, comprising four cabinet members and three civil servants, was also formed by the government to look into the issue and give recommendations for its ultimate solution reported Dawn.
However, angry protesters in Rawalakot and elsewhere rejected what they called the “lollipop” by the government and made it clear that their agitation would continue as per their calendar until all unnecessary and cruel taxes were withdrawn and the tariff was brought on par with Gilgit-Baltistan.
Participants of the rally in Rawalakot, some of whom were also carrying placards, chanted slogans and torched around 7,000 electricity bills at Kutchery Chowk, reported Dawn. (ANI)
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