Traders on Friday observed a complete shutterdown strike in Karachi against the bloated electricity bills amid backbreaking inflation.
The recent massive hike in electricity bills has not only shaken the already-burdened domestic consumers but also the trader community across the country.
A day earlier, ruling out any immediate relief to power consumers, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar asked the people to pay their utility bills since there was not any other option. He added that they were negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the issue.
“The electricity bills will need to be paid and IMF conditions will be implemented,” the interim PM said.
The reason behind the high electricity bills was the IPPs and line losses, he added. “We are working with the IMF and looking into the issue of electricity bills. There is inflation but not so much that there should be a shutter-down strike.”
In the port city, all major bazaars, markets, business centres and shopping plazas remained closed on the calls of different trade unions.
The traders were of the view that the hike in power tariff was unbearable for them. They demanded the withdrawal of heavy taxes on electricity bills. “Lowering power prices is our sole demand.”
In Lahore, government employees also joined the ongoing protest against exorbitant electricity bills. Power consumers and traders staged protest rallies against the inflated electricity bills in different areas of the metropolis.
In Quetta, people staged protest demonstrations against skyrocketing prices of wheat flour and a hike in prices of electricity and petrol.
As the nation grapples with high electricity bills, the caretaker government late Thursday jacked up the petrol and diesel prices by over Rs14.
The Finance Division said that the price of petrol will go up by Rs14.91 per litre, and the price of high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs18.44 per litre. Now, the price for one litre of petrol will be Rs305.36, and HSD price will be Rs311.84.
In Vehari, women and children gathered outside the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) office and registered their protest against the inflated electricity bills.
Like other parts of the country, traders observed a shutterdown strike in Dadu district of Sindh and held rallies against inflation and exorbitant electricity bills.
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