Pakistan is witnessing a wave of public anger and frustration over the rising electricity bills and taxes imposed by the government. Across the country, citizens have set fire electricity bills to protest against the excessive charges and demand relief from the economic burden.
In Karachi, the largest city and commercial hub of Pakistan, traders and consumers staged a massive protest outside the office of K-Electric, the sole power supplier in the city. They accused the company of overbilling, mismanagement, and corruption. They also rejected the additional taxes levied on their electricity bills by the federal government. The protest was supported by Jamaat-e-Islami, a religious political party, which warned that the situation could worsen if the government continued to ignore the people’s plight. The burning off the electricity bills can set a dangerous trend in Pakistan the consumers to stop paying their bills.
The protests have also prompted security concerns for the power companies and their employees. In Multan, officials of Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO) prohibited the use of vehicles with official number plates by their staff to prevent any untoward incidents. In Karachi, traders filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the CEO of K-Electric, Moonis Alvi, for allegedly sending a group of 50 personnel to barge into a market and engage in misbehavior.
The protests reflect the growing dissatisfaction and resentment among the people of Pakistan over the economic policies and performance of the government. The government has been criticized for its failure to control inflation, unemployment, poverty, and corruption. The power sector is one of the most troubled areas of the economy, plagued by inefficiency, circular debt, theft, and losses. The government has been trying to reform the sector by increasing tariffs, reducing subsidies, and introducing new taxes. However, these measures have met with strong opposition from various segments of society.