Protests against high power prices are ongoing in Pakistan for a third day. People are angry about having to pay more for electricity, and they have been showing their anger by burning their electricity bills during rallies that are happening in different cities. In the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the department in charge of power has asked the police for protection because they are worried about attacks from the protesters. To be safer, the department also told its staff to take off the license plates from their work vehicles.
These protests started on Friday and have spread to many places, like Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad. This unrest is happening because people are upset about the higher electricity bills. At the same time, the country is going through an economic crisis. It’s a difficult situation because the cost of living is going up a lot – inflation is at about 29 percent. The person who is in charge temporarily, called the caretaker Prime Minister, had a special meeting on Sunday to talk about these high electricity bills. But for now, there is no immediate plan to help people with the bills.
The Prime Minister’s office said that the meeting will continue on Monday. The Prime Minister also told the people who manage the power sector to come up with real ways to lower the high electricity bills. He wants them to have a plan ready within 48 hours. He said, “We won’t do anything quickly that will hurt the country.”
The government decided to raise the prices for power to get $3 billion from the International Monetary Fund. This money is really needed, and it was given in July. But the International Monetary Fund said that Pakistan had to make some changes to its economy as part of the deal. Because of this deal, the government also stopped giving as much money to the energy sector, which made the prices for fuel go up a lot.
Some religious leaders from mosques told the protesters not to pay their electricity bills until their demands are met. When talking to the news on TV, the protesters said that the bills for electricity are even more money than what they pay for their houses.