From Karachi to Khyber, nationwide demonstrations against skyrocketing electricity prices broke out, and some of them turned violent. On Saturday, thousands of merchants participated in a nationwide strike by closing their shops in protest of skyrocketing inflation, expensive electricity costs, and the recent increase in the cost of fuel items.
Lawyers supported the strike by boycotting courts, and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and other trade organisations issued the demand for it.
In Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and other cities across the nation, commercial hubs and business centres remained shut, and signs protesting “the unreasonable increase in electricity bills and taxes” were placed in abandoned bazaars.
Strikes in Different Cities
The interim administration was given 72 hours by the Tajir Action Committee (TAC) on Friday in Karachi to cut back on exorbitant electricity costs and remove recently enacted fuel charges.
Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar, the acting chief minister of Sindh, acknowledged in a statement that residents were having difficulties and that holding protests was a fundamental democratic right.
Syed Zeeshan Akhtar, the leader of JI Bahawalpur, also organised a gathering there.
Other than Peshawar, business owners in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa closed their doors. In addition to Shangla, they also include Bisham, Alpuri, Puran, Swat, Mingora, Khwazakhela, Barikot, Dir Timergara, Warai, and Malakand.
Other regions of K-P, such as Mansehra, Abbottabad, and Haripur, saw some of the strike.
In the regions of Upper Dir and Abbottabad, the JI posted images of shuttered businesses.
On key thoroughfares, fewer people were using public transportation and other types of transportation than usual.
Reasons of Shutter Down Strike:
Butt argued that because the recent increase in electricity prices is harming our businesses, traders cannot afford such high bills. He urged Caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar to reverse this decision.
Since the notables’ electricity bills have been exceeding their wages, the protesting masses have been calling on the government to stop giving authorities free electricity and to give them relief.
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) announced in July that Rs29.78 per unit of kWh had been chosen as the revised national average pricing for the fiscal year 2023–2024. Compared to the previously determined national average tariff of Rs24.82, this was Rs4.96 per unit higher.
Later in August, the previous administration announced an increase in the national base electricity cost of Rs3.50 per unit.
The JI posted images of Punjabi traders participating in a shutter-down strike in several towns and of its activists demonstrating in Nankana Sahib against excessive power rates on its account on X (previously Twitter).
The economy of the nation has been crippled for years by mismanagement and volatility, and this summer Pakistan was compelled to enter a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avoid default.
The global lender insisted, however, that well-liked subsidies that served as a cost-of-living buffer be reduced. Following the government’s concession to its demands, the cost of petrol and energy increased.