Average inflation in Pakistan surpasses that of other South Asian countries, leaving our society vulnerable to the whims of a select few elites who prioritise power politics over the welfare of the people. Following the recent increase in gas prices, the government has now approved a Rs 1.25 paisa hike in electricity prices for the July to September quarter, burdening consumers with a staggering Rs 22.56 billion in quarterly adjustments.
This increase comes at a time when the entire nation, including both citizens and businesses, is already grappling with the challenges posed by exorbitant electricity bills. Despite a reduction in petroleum prices, there has been no corresponding relief in electricity prices, with indications pointing towards further increases in the pipeline. The government appears oblivious to the plight of the people, perpetually subjecting them to the hardships of inflation.
The caretaker government, like its predecessors, seems detached from the real issues affecting the populace. Historically, those in power have focused on self-enrichment rather than addressing the fundamental problems faced by the public. Whether it’s the PTI, PDM, or the current caretaker government, all have contributed to exacerbating inflationary pressures on the people, rendering their lives practically worthless.
Addressing public issues should be the topmost priority, especially considering the prevailing state of anxiety, unrest, and skyrocketing inflation. Both inflation and unemployment have reached unprecedented levels, and the country is grappling with internal and external threats. The relentless rise in inflation has disproportionately burdened the poor and the middle class, while political leaders, both past and present, offer little more than empty promises.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, there has been an 11% decrease in textile exports on a monthly basis. The continuous surge in electricity prices and the burden of taxes have disproportionately affected the common man compared to capitalists, leading to a 40% increase in production costs. The closure of thousands of power looms has brought businesses to a standstill, resulting in widespread unemployment.
Exports in various textile categories have seen negative growth, with knitwear exports dropping by 16.13%, cotton cloth by 22.56%, and art, silk, and artificial textiles by 16.18%. The economic situation has become dire, with people struggling to pay their electricity bills, while electricity worth billions is provided free to influential individuals and institutions. Furthermore, electricity theft in many areas, accounting for losses in billions, is unfairly shouldered by the general public. Approximately 30% of the electricity generated in the country is not accounted for by the government, with up to 20% lost or stolen during transmission distribution.
In light of these challenges, it is imperative that the government revisits and rolls back the recent electricity price hike. This action would alleviate the financial burden on citizens and businesses, promote economic stability, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to the welfare of the people.
MUHAMMAD IMRAN UL HAQ,