Protesters set electricity bills ablaze

Peshawar   -  Consumer protest demonstrations against inflated electricity bills continued for the seventh consecutive day, with protesters setting power bills on fire in the provincial capital of Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday.

Initially, the business community began protesting against the expensive electricity, which was later followed by other segments of society, including civil society organizations.

The charged protesters alleged that powerful sections were stealing electricity without any checks, while common consumers had to pay for electricity pilferage and also the free units consumed by WAP DA power distribution companies and other government officials, despite their high salaries and perks.

They asked the government to remove all taxes from the electricity bills, or they would continue protesting. They regretted that those who stole electricity with the connivance of PESCO staffers were sent bills of only Rs 2,000, while those who fairly paid their bills received inflated bills in August.

Anjuman-i-Tajiran Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president, Malik Meher Elahi, said that the business community was fully unified against the ‘illegal’ and unjustified taxes in power bills. He added that while people were struggling to make ends meet, the government was forcing them to launch a civil disobedience campaign by continuing to increase power tariffs.

He said that members of the business community would gather at Chowk Yadgaar every day and place black flags on their shops as a protest. “We will announce a date for a complete shutter- down strike in case the government fails to slash power bills,” Mr Elahi said, adding that all segments of society would participate in the procession. However, he stressed that the burden of free units consumed by PESCO or Wapda employees and stolen electricity should not be shifted to law-abiding consumers.

The protesting consumers strongly condemned the government and PESCO management for the inflated electricity bills, declaring that they wouldn’t pay them. The protesters chanted slogans against PESCO and the country’s elite class for corruption. They said that the inclusion of several taxes had rendered consumers unable to pay the power bills.

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