LAHORE: Opposition political and religious parties in Pakistan have lashed out at the Nawaz Sharif government for the massive increase in electricity rates, some announcing their plans to protest against the hike.
The Punjab chapter of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) yesterday announced province-wide protests against increase in power and petroleum prices, ever-increasing joblessness and ‘anti-people’ policies of the government today.
PTI Punjab President Ejaz Chaudhry and Secretary-General Dr Yasmin Rashid rejected increase in power prices terming it “economic terrorism”. They demanded immediate withdrawal of increase in power prices.
Dr Yasmin said the Nawaz government had shifted the economic burden onto the poor to overcome financial deficit. She said the Rs5.98 per unit hike would result in increase in prices of food items, medicines and other necessities of life. “The power prices have been increased to pay for the expensive trips of the prime minister and his family to foreign countries,” she alleged.
Asif Zardari’s Pakistan People?s Party condemned the “electricity drone attack” in the shape of 40 to 210 percent increase in power rates. “The PML-N government has taken the step on the instruction of the IMF. The party had earlier claimed to break the begging bowl but now it is taking anti-people steps to appease the IMF,” PPP senior leader Haider Zaman Qureshi said. The PPP also condemned exorbitant increase in oil prices.
Jamiat Ulema Islam leaders Amjad Khan and others strongly reacted to the massive increase in power tariff. In a statement, the leaders termed the decision an “economic attack” on the masses seeking the government’s help in such hard times.
Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen Secretary-General Nasir Jafri termed the tariff increase a gift to a nation that was already haunted by dearness, terrorism, loadshedding and energy crisis. He also termed the hike a suicidal attack on the people. He demanded withdrawal of the notification.
In a statement Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek leader Zahid Fayyaz rapped the government for continuing its anti-public policies. “The 100 days of the government have clearly shown its working style. The raise in power tariff reflects the government’s designs to crush the people,” Fayyaz said.