Traders observe strike against inflated power bills

Caretaker Prime Minister has ruled out any possibility of immediate relief to consumers.

ISLAMABAD: Traders across the country shuttered their shops on Saturday to register protests against soaring energy and fuel bills.

The recent hike in electricity bills further frustrated the consumers and traders who are already, heavily burdened by the soaring inflation in the country. 

Despite the protests and refusal of the public to pay hiked bills, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has ruled out any possibility of immediate relief. He has, instead, said there is no option for consumers but to pay their bills, while the interim government tries to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the issue.

“The electricity bills will need to be paid and IMF conditions will be implemented,” Kakar said. Meanwhile, the public and traders have joined the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in supporting its call for a shutter-down strike during which small and large commercial shops and businesses have been closed in cities including Karachi, Peshawar, Sargodha and Sheikhupura, among others.

The Punjab Bar Council also announced a strike against inflation with lawyers also absent from courts.

In Karachi, citizens protested against inflation in Shah Latif Town, blocking the flow of traffic on the National Highway.

Traders split into two factions on JI’s call for a shutter down strike in Sargodha. President Anjuman-e-Tajiran Sheikh Nadeem Khawar said he would participate in the shutter-down strike but would not hold a rally, while its general secretary spoke against the strike at the request of a political party. He assured to support the strike if announced by Anjuman-e-Tajiran.

The lawyers of the district bar in Faisalabad announced a strike, too, with protests in the city recorded by citizens at Canal Road and Digikot demanding abolishing taxes by burning tires and blocking the road for traffic.

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