LOWER DIR: Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Sirajul Haq has said his party would approach the Supreme Court to ensure that elections are held within the constitutionally mandated period of 90 days.
Addressing a press conference in Dir Lower on Tuesday, he also conveyed his desire to engage with other political parties in order to establish a consensus on the date for the general elections. Sirajul Haq emphasized that the government must address the public demand to reduce the power tariff; otherwise, the JI would consider resorting to options such as organizing a long-march to Islamabad or wheel-jam strike.
He underscored that the recent successful shutter-down strike sent a clear message to the government that the masses were unwilling to bear the burden of exorbitant electricity bills. The strike, he said, has also provided the government with an opportunity to initiate renegotiations with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concerning costly agreements. The JI chief urged the government to combat power theft and reduce power sector losses, while also ending the practice of providing free electricity to government employees, which burdens the less privileged. He criticized the government’s inability to justify the inclusion of over a dozen taxes in electricity bills.
He highlighted the responsibility of the government in tackling issues such as smuggling and black-market activities related to dollars, sugar, and other essential commodities. He lamented that sugar mill owners were enjoying more than double profits, despite the fact that the price of sugar should not exceed Rs90. He credited the JI’s mass movement against inflation for prompting the government to take action against power theft. He appealed to the people to stand united in the pursuit of their rights to achieve even better outcomes.
Siraj underscored that Pakistan possesses abundant resources; however, the real challenges lie in issues such as poor governance, corruption, mismanagement, and the unfair distribution of resources. He pointed out that Pakistan was a rare example where the government had obtained substantial loans from the World Bank even for basic sanitation services, such as street cleaning. He expressed concern over the fact that approximately Rs7.5 billion had been allocated to foreign companies solely for street cleaning in Karachi, with minimal salaries being paid to local workers while foreign companies reaped substantial profits.
The JI chief called for the inclusion of the Malakand division in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), asserting that the region had been deprived of its rightful share in the project. He expressed apprehension about the deteriorating law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and reminded the authorities of their duty to provide security and protection to the general public.