Tuesday May 28, 2024

Inflated electricity bills: Protests spiral as political parties and others join citizens

By Riffatullah
August 29, 2023

PESHAWAR: Protests against the inflated power bills spiraled on Monday as activists of political parties joined the common citizens in staging demonstrations in the provincial capital and elsewhere in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Awami National Party (ANP) staged a protest at the Bacha Khan Chowk. ANP senior leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and former Member Provincial Assembly Samar Haroon Bilour addressed the protesters.

They asked the government to provide relief to the people as they were grappling with record inflation coupled with joblessness.

A protest was also staged against the high electricity bills outside the Peshawar Development Authority in Hayatabad. The protesters chanted slogans against the government and power distribution companies.

Led by Imran Khan Salarzai, Nawab Khattak, Anwar Zaman and other political and religious leaders, the protesters said that residents of Hayatabad township pay bills regularly and would not accept any unjust taxation in electricity bills.

They warned of launching a civil disobedience movement if the government didn’t stop the

practice of collecting unjust taxes in bills. The speakers said the power consumers were unable to pay these bills in their existing salaries or income. The protesters said that power consumers should not be forced to recover the cost of government misspending.

MARDAN: Hundreds of residents staged a protest rally atBacha Khan Chowk against the increase in the prices of electricity and petroleum products.

The rally was organized by Mayor of Mardan Himayatullah Mayar and President of Mardan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zahir Shah, Mushtaq Semab and other elders.

The participants of the rally chanted slogans against the Peshawar Electric Supply Company and the government.

The speakers condemned the government for the increase in the electricity and petroleum

products. They said the government should end the privileges of ministers, judges, bureaucrats and others instead of imposing heavy taxes on the poor people. The protesters said they would not pay the inflated electricity bills.

BATTAGRAM: The people in Battagram district took to the streets against heavy taxes in electricity bills and blocked the Karakoram Highway for traffic for an hour.

Chanting slogans against the government, the protesters burnt used tyres on the road, disrupting the flow of traffic, which caused inconvenience to the passengers using the road.

The protesters torched the electricity bills to vent anger, asking the government to lower the power tariff or else they would not pay the bills.

Addressing the protesters, president of Anjuman-e-Tajiran Battagram Abdul Ghaffar and others said that Battagram was an underdeveloped district where people were facing a host of problems and abject poverty.

They said that rising inflation, unemployment and inflated electricity bills had broken the people’s back. The speakers added the government should take pity on people by withdrawing the taxes from electricity bills or else they would be forced to hold an indefinite shutdown protest.

MANSEHRA: The people staged a demonstration to record protest at the exorbitant power bills. The traders pulled down the shutters to express resentment over the unjustified increase in the power tariff. They said that the government should stop providing free electricity units to Wapda employees.

NOWSHERA: The Anjuman-e-Tajiran staged a protest in Nowshera as a mark of protest against the surge in electricity prices. The traders took out a rally from the Shobra Chowk to the Nowshera cantonment.

Addressing the protesters, the traders asked the government to withdraw the taxes in the electricity bills.

Meanwhile, speaking at a protest rally in Pabbi town here, Awami National Party (ANP) leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the commoners were now unable to arrange a two-time meal for their children in the face of backbreaking inflation.

He said that the price of the electricity unit was one rupee and 30 paisa but the consumers were compelled to pay Rs50 per unit.

The ANP leader said KP produced cheap and surplus hydel electricity but its citizens had to pay far higher power charges. He termed the protest against the power bills civil disobedience.

ABBOTTABAD: Torching the electricity bills in the main square of the city, the business community of Abbottabad has threatened to start a civil disobedience movement against electricity tariff.

The protests were held across the city where the protesters criticized the government and the Water and Power Development Authority for the inflated bills.

They blocked the Karakoram Highway for some time.

The business community, traders and civil society members held protests and burnt the electricity bills to give vent to their anger. The major rally started from Cantonment Plaza under the leadership of All Trade Federation President Saqib Khan.

Addressing the protestors, Saqib Khan said the government had forced them to stage the protests. He said the elite were getting richer while the poor were getting poorer with every passing day.

Other speakers said the people lacked the financial means to pay such heavy bills. They said that indirect taxation had made life miserable for the people. They demanded the government to stop providing free electricity to Wapda employees, judges, bureaucrats and ministers. The speakers warned of observing a complete shutdown and a protest sit-in in the entire district.