Pakistanis burn electricity bills, protest against taxes

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Islamabad: The common man is angry about the rising inflation in Pakistan. Thousands of people have taken to the streets across Pakistan to protest against rising electricity bills and high taxes imposed by the government. Thousands of electricity bills were burnt by angry protesters during a protest against the government’s high electricity rates and taxes. A protester in Rawalpindi said, ‘This government has made it impossible for a common man with a small family to run his household by increasing the prices of everything of basic necessity. Now, they send us bills with high tariffs and taxes. Imagine a house that has two fans and three lights, but the bill is more than PKR 20,000. This is unacceptable and we will protest till this deliberate attempt to suck people’s blood stops.

One protester said, ‘On one side there are no jobs, no business, everything is expensive. And besides, they try to bury us even more in the ground by sending us bills we can’t pay. We reject these bills, tariffs and taxes. We will not pay them at all and will not allow the authorities to disconnect our electricity and take away our meters’

Announcements have also been made from several mosques, calling on locals not to pay their bills and to protest against the authorities. Taking note of the situation, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar has held meetings with his cabinet to seek a solution to the rapidly worsening crisis. The government has asked the officials to give their recommendations and tell the cabinet how the issue of high tariffs and taxes can be dealt with.

Political and economic expert Syed Irfan Raza said that ‘this could rapidly turn into complete anarchy and disorder, leading to civil war’. Citizens are angry, aggressive, ready to retaliate if need be, and challenge the state. Inflation, taxes, tariffs and a steady decline in jobs, businesses and other means of earning have made the future of Pakistanis uncertain. JI chief Sirajul Haque has announced a massive nationwide protest on September 2 against the exorbitant hike in power tariffs.

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