Rawalpindi-A series of protest demonstrations by consumers erupted on Mon- day in various parts of the dis- trict against inflated electricity bills, with some violent mobs en- croaching on the IESCO offices. In- furiated protestors poured onto the streets and roads in areas such as Bakra Mandi, Adiala Road, Sat- ellite Town, and Mandra-Chakwal Morr in Gujar Khan. They blocked roads for traffic by burning tires and electricity bills and chanted slogans against the Prime Minis- ter of Pakistan, Chairman IESCO, Chief Minister Punjab, demanding an immediate reversal of inflated power bills.
According to details, a large number of protestors gathered at Chungi Number 20 on Adiala Road and registered their strong pro- test against the exorbitant bills. The protestors, led by Chairman Tehreek Potohar Province Raja Ijaz and Syed Asad Abbas Kazmi, a local politician, held placards and banners with slogans against the government and wapda high- ups. Raja Ijaz and Syed Asad Abbas Kazmi, while blocking the road for traffic, said that electricity had be- come too expensive, even though they were suffering from hours- long load shedding. They said that inflation had already broken the backbone of the masses, and WAP- DA was determined to burden the poor people of Pakistan with in- flated electricity bills.
“The poor labourers, vegetable sellers, sanitary workers, plumb- ers, and even handcart owners living in 3 marla houses with two fans and a bulb are receiving inflated bills ranging from Rs 8,000 to 10,000,” said Raja Ijaz. He stat- ed that the people had decided not to pay electricity bills. Asad Abbas Kazmi said that the poor people of Adiala were paying electricity bills by selling household items and jewellery belonging to their wom- en. They demanded the government
withdraw unnecessary taxes from electricity bills, or they would march toward the federal capital. In Bakra Mandi, hundreds of irate citizens surrounded the of- fice of WAPDA and set electric- ity bills ablaze during a protest demonstration. The protest on the busiest road caused a mas- sive traffic jam on Chakri Dhamial Road, Dhoke Syedan, Tahli Mohri, Harley Street, and Chungi Number 22, causing immense trouble for commuters and traders. The most echoed slogan chanted by the pro- testors was, “We will not accept the unnecessary rise in electrici- ty bills at any cost and will not pay a single penny to WAPDA.” Ahmed Khan, a local trader union pres- ident, said the people would not accept the inclusion of more taxes in power bills as they were already paying more than they could af- ford. He said the government was trying to save face and was hiding its incompetency by burdening consumers.
“All the high and mighty sit- ting in government are being giv- en free electricity, petrol, and oth- er perks and privileges, while the poor people of Pakistan are paying even those taxes that did not fall on their shoulders,” said anoth- er trade union leader. He said that the burden of new taxes would paralyze their businesses.
Moreover, the main office of WAPDA located in Satellite Town was also surrounded by a large number of protestors holding electricity bills in their hands. The protestors tore up electricity bills and rejected the inclusion of more taxes. A demonstration was also held at Mandra Chakwal Road as protesters blocked it for traffic movement and chanted slogans against wapda and the govern- ment. The protestors, including women, stated they would not pay electricity bills and would take ac- tion against wapda staff if they dared to disconnect their connec- tions for non-payment of bills. Many protestors expressed their deep anger over the injustice be- ing done by the government