Amid escalating protests across the nation demanding relief from inflated power bills, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar has taken proactive steps to address the pressing issue. In response to the ongoing unrest, Prime Minister Kakar convened a high-level meeting yesterday to strategise and formulate a comprehensive relief plan within the next 48 hours.

The focal point of the meeting was an informative briefing provided by the Power Division, shedding light on the notable increase in power bills during the month of July. Attended by esteemed members of the interim cabinet, including Dr Shamsad Akhtar, Dr Gohar Ijaz, and the PM’s advisor, Dr Waqar Masood, the meeting aimed to address the mounting concerns over the substantially high electricity bills. There are growing fears that if swift action is not taken, the situation could spiral into widespread public protests and potentially even riots.

In the aftermath of the meeting, PM Kakar took to social media to communicate the intended course of action. “The Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance have been tasked with collaboratively devising an action plan aimed at providing relief to the public with regard to their electricity bills,” announced the Prime Minister, reiterating the government’s commitment to addressing the pressing issue.

RELATED STORIES

Beyond seeking immediate measures to curtail electricity consumption on government premises, Prime Minister Kakar emphasised that consultations would be initiated with all provincial representatives. He further assured the public that the caretaker government was resolute in its commitment to providing the maximum possible relief while remaining within its designated mandate.

The Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Murtaza Solangi, echoed the Prime Minister’s sentiments by sharing the key outcomes of the meeting via social media. He conveyed that PM Kakar had stressed the urgency of devising an action plan within the next 48 hours to alleviate the mounting financial burden caused by excessive charges on electricity bills. The Prime Minister’s emphasis was on implementing measures that wouldn’t have a detrimental impact on the national exchequer yet would genuinely alleviate the financial strain on consumers.

The meeting concluded with a comprehensive commitment to tackle electricity theft, roll out energy-efficient initiatives, and initiate dialogue with provincial chief ministers regarding the substantial charges incurred in July. The meeting also included detailed briefings on pertinent issues within the electricity sector and strategies to counteract electricity theft.

Against the backdrop of sustained protests, political parties from diverse backgrounds have voiced their concerns and demands. Jamaat-e-Islami has taken a decisive step by announcing a nationwide strike on September 2 as a means of voicing their discontent with the drastic surge in electricity bills. The party’s leader, Siraj-ul-Haq, articulated his intention to mobilise people across the country to participate in these protests, lamenting the financial hardship faced by salaried individuals due to soaring living costs.

According to Brecorder, adding to the chorus of concerns, MQM-P leaders have issued a stern warning that the ongoing protests could rapidly escalate into violent riots if prompt relief measures are not taken. Farooq Sattar, Senior Deputy Convener of MQM-P, highlighted the burden of multiple taxes contributing to the high electricity bills, underscoring the palpable frustration among the populace.

As the nation anticipates the proposed relief plan within the stipulated 48-hour timeframe, the government’s actions in response to the mounting crisis will significantly shape the trajectory of the ongoing protests and public sentiment at large.