LAHORE, ISLAMABAD, KARACHI - Rejecting the unprecedented hike in power tariff terming it a callous act of the government with serious implications for the people already reeling under the impact of inflation, the opposition parties have announced to launch countrywide protests to force the government to take back its decision.
However, there were conflicting reports about the start of the protests. Some reports said the protests would begin in Punjab from Tuesday (today). The PPP and the PTI however announced to launch countrywide protests from Wednesday. Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah said that he would raise the issue in the Parliament along with other parties to agitate the issue. Central Secretary General, PPP, Sardar Latif Khosa said that PPP had given a call for country-wide peaceful protests from tomorrow (Wednesday) to put pressure on the rulers to reverse the power tariff.
He lamented that instead of providing relief to the people as promised in the election campaign, the PML-N-led government had launched a drone attack on the poor masses already facing a plethora of problems.
“If the PML-N government had the intentions to accept IMF dictates, it should not have made tall claims of ending price-hike, reducing poverty and breaking the begging bowl during the election campaign,” he remarked.
Khosa believed that massive raise in power tariff would eliminate the middle class which is considered backbone of any country. He said his party was also considering contacting other opposition parties to make a joint strategy regarding the protest movement against the government.
The PTI Punjab President Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry and General Secretary Dr Yasmin Rashid strongly condemned the government for hike in prices of electricity, saying it would make life of the ordinary citizen even more difficult.
They further said that the price hike was totally unacceptable and PTI as a voice of the public would protest against it both inside and outside the assembly. Ejaz Chaudhry announced that on October 2, PTI would hold country-wide protests which would continue till the government withdraws the raise.
The PTI leaders said it was strange to see that government was making the life of the masses difficult by increasing prices of petrol, gas, and electricity after every 15 days. The increase of Rs.5.98/unit is a huge jump in the price of electricity that will result in the price hike of food items medicines and every other necessities of life, they said and added that the incumbent government had proven that they had the sole agenda of pushing the common man to the brink of suicide.
They demanded that the government should immediately withdraw raise in power tariff as this was totally unacceptable to the people of Pakistan.
“The actual fact is that the government had committed to IMF to devalue the rupee and increase the electricity and petrol prices to pay back the loan. Ejaz Ch said,
PML-Q Information Secretary Kamil Ali Agha said his party rejected the recent hike in electricity and POL prices and demanded its withdrawal. He said the incumbent government’s bad performance during first 100 days was unmatchable. He said the government had left no way for the masses except suicides. The government is forcing the people to come on the roads against it, he said.
JI chief Syed Munawar Hasan and Secretary General Liaquat Baloch said the electricity and POL price hike proved that the PML-N election manifesto was pack of lies. They said the government was continuously hitting the masses with drone strike of price hike. They also demanded of the government to withdraw the recent hike. JUI-F central General Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Haidari said that a new flood of price hike in daily use commodities was inevitable after the recent increase in electricity and POL prices. He demanded of the government to withdraw the hike as the masses could not afford it. Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen also condemned the recent price hike.
PPP’s central leader Senator Saeed Ghani termed it an anti-people step of the PML-N’s federal government which will result in inflation in the whole country.
He said PPP lawmakers will stage protests in Senate, National Assembly and provincial assemblies.
Jammat-e-Islami (JI) Sindh general sectary Mumtaz Hussain Sahtu said PML-N government since its takeover had disappointed the masses. He demanded of the federal government to immediately withdraw the recent rise in power tariff.
Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has also rejected the recent unprecedented hike in power tariff considering the government’s decision tantamount to increase ‘woes and worries’ of masses.
“Government should give subsidy to the masses but they are fast increasing inflation in every sector, which Muttahida will never support,” said MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil, talking to The Nation. MQM has already given plethora of suggestions, in its budgetary proposals, to the government to curtail extra budget on the masses.