Relief on electricity bills to be announced in next 48 hours: PM Kakar

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Thursday said the negotiations were being held with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to discuss relief for public on electricity bills as protests against inflated power tariff continue to widen.

The government would announce relief for public in next 48 hours, assured the premier while talking to senior journalists in the federal capital. He said various other options were also under consideration to extend the relief to masses.

He said the issue of electricity bills was being overstated, adding that people had to pay bills as Pakistan had signed an agreement with the global lender.

Talking about elections in the country, he said the government would respect the decision of the Supreme Court on polls date.

He also defended latest amendments to laws of the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) regarding appointments of its chairman, saying the changes were made keeping in view the terrorism and other sensitive matters.

He ruled out any crisis in the country but acknowledged that situation is tough and “we will manage to survive”. He said it was a pre-planned act to spready uncertainty and disappointment among masses.

Earlier in the day, traders announced joining the protests against inflated electricity bills, which have been continuing across the country for the last six days as the caretaker government excused itself on the grounds that the IMF conditions don’t allow any relief.

People in Azad Kashmir’s capital Muzaffarabad observed a wheel-jam strike, while traders in Peshawar pulled shutters of their shops down and tailors in Bagh came out on the streets carrying their sewing machines.

Business centres, petrol pumps and private educational institutions remained closed in Muzaffarabad due to the strike.

The angry citizens, already reeling under high inflation, set electricity bills on fire while demanding the government to withdraw extra taxes added to the bills.

Traders’ bodies in Rahim Yar Khan, Sukkur, Bhawalpur, Quetta, Vehari and other places also observed shutter-down strike.