Protests break out against inflated power bills

In many cities, power distribution companies seek police protection against angry mobs.

ISLAMABAD: People across the country are taking to streets and burning their electricity bills after power utility companies sent them inflated bills due to increase in taxes by the government.

The severe reaction led caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar to call an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister’s House tomorrow (Sunday).

“In the meeting, a briefing will be taken from the ministry of power and distribution companies and consultations will be held regarding giving maximum relief to consumers regarding electricity bills,” the premier said on X (formerly Twitter) today.

In many cities power distribution companies have sought police protection fearing the angry protesters might also attack their staffers and installations.

In some parts of Azad Kashmir the consumers have announced not to pay the bills.

A large number of people in different parts of KP took to the streets against exorbitant power bills complaining the increase in electricity tariff amid record inflation has added to their misery.

They blocked roads, set fire to power bills and announced they would challenge the “injustice” by the public utility in the court of law.

Members of the business community in Peshawar demonstrated in Gulbahar, Kohati Gate, Shaheen Muslim Town, Paharipura and Warsak Road areas for the fourth consecutive day.

In a statement, ANP provincial president Aimal Wali Khan said the sale of “expensive” electricity to KP residents was an unconstitutional and a very cruel act on part of the government.

He said under Article 157 of the Constitution, the provinces had the power to determine the method and rate of distribution of electricity generated by them.

“Electricity produced at Rs2 is sold to people for Rs27-Rs30,” he said.

Mr Khan said “unconstitutional” measures were being taken regarding electric supply.

“On one hand, we don’t get the electricity to meet our needs and on the other, federal tariff has been unconstitutionally imposed on us,” he said.

The ANP leader also insisted that the centre was denying net hydel profit to the province.

Protesters in Rawalpindi appeared at Committee Chowk, carrying electricity bills, banners and placards inscribed with different slogans and demand to withdraw the increase.

They marched on Murree Road causing disruption to traffic. Police were also present on the route of the marchers to avert any untoward situation.

The protesters, however, dispersed peacefully after reaching outside the Rawalpindi Press Club.

Fearing strong retaliation, the Iesco authorities in Rawalpindi requested the City Police Officer to deploy police at their offices to avoid any unpleasant situation.

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