ISLAMABAD: Amid mounting public outcry over electricity price hikes, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has summoned an urgent meeting with officials from the power ministry and electricity distribution companies on Sunday.
The move comes only a day after Pakistani citizens and trade associations united in protest across various cities in Pakistan after the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) implemented a tariff hike of Rs4.96 per unit last month.
This measure was to fulfill a requirement imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition to grant approval to a $3 billion bailout package for the South Asian country.
“I have called an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister’s House tomorrow on the issue of hiked electricity bills,” the prime minister announced on the X messaging platform, formerly known as Twitter.
“In the meeting, a briefing will be sought from the ministry of power and distribution companies and consultations will be held to give maximum relief to consumers regarding their electricity bills.”
Friday marked the beginning of protests initiated by the business community against the surge in electricity prices, with plans to gradually expand the movement across the country.
“We had already warned our rulers not to become an instrument in the hands of the international financial institutions by implementing anti-people policies,” Muhammad Kashif Chaudhry, President of Markazi Tanzeem-e-Tajran Pakistan, a central association of traders in the country, said in a statement.
Numerous bodies representing local traders in Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar issued warnings of potential “consequences” if the government did not take action to address the mounting power tariffs.
Over the past 30 days, Pakistan has also elevated fuel prices twice, increasing the cost of living amid inflationary pressure that already remains high.
Traders emphasized the recent escalation in fuel and power expenses had significantly impeded their business operations.
Inflation in Pakistan reached a historical peak of 38 percent in May before subsiding to 28.3 percent in July, although it still remains notably high.
Source : Arab News