ISLAMABAD – Masses across Pakistan took to streets against overpricing in electricity bills, with fuming protesters blocking key arteries in multiple cities, burning tires and chanting slogans against authorities as people are literally battling to get food and basic commodities.
Amid the situation turned violent, and calls of civil disobedience gained traction, interim Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar chaired an urgent meeting with power authorities in which the premier ordered that there would be no free electricity for all government employees.
During the meeting, Kakar was briefed by the power division on what determines the price of power tariff.
After getting suggestions, the Prime Minister issued directives for emergency measures to resolve electricity theft across a nation of 240 million, which is bearing the brunt of economic meltdown.
Power division officials apprised the top officials that the burden of electricity costs was not being passed on to the all consumers equally, and pointed out several concerns, including free supply of electricity for retired WAPDA staffers and DISCO employees.
It was reported that payments worth Rs2 trillion have to be made under capacity payments in the next year alone, the government told.
Officials apprised that surge in power tariff has not affected over 60 percent domestic consumers, saying the elevated rates have been applied to consumers using over 400 units.
The meeting also mulled over provision of maximum relief to the masses over electricity bills.
Separately, on his X handle, the prime minister posted that he summoned an emergency meeting over these issues in the PM House and would hold consultations to provide maximum relief to power consumers.
بجلی کے بھاری بِلوں کے معاملے پر میں نے کل وزیر اعظم ہاؤس میں ہنگامی اجلاس طلب کر لیا ہے۔ اجلاس میں وزارت بجلی اور تقسیم کار کمپنیوں سے بریفنگ لی جائے گی اور صارفین کو بجلی کے بِلوں کے حوالے سے زیادہ سے زیادہ ریلیف دینے کے حوالے سے مشاورت کی جائے گی۔— Anwaar ul Haq Kakar (@anwaar_kakar) August 26, 2023
Earlier, residents in parts of Pakistan including the country’s financial capital Karachi set their electricity bill on fire in protest against an inflated power tariff amid record inflation as people are battling to survive.
Amid nationwide protests, residents make announcements in local mosques, requesting people not to pay inflated electricity bills, as salaries class people and even businesses have been backed into a corner when it comes to electricity prices after the recent hike.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 23, 2024 (Friday)
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.5 for buying and 282.45 for selling.
Euro comes down to 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 75.95 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.25.
Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
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