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Pakistanis enraged after caretaker PM says furore over electricity bills is overblown

Pakistan's economic crisis is deepening (Image courtesy: IANS)

Public anger in Pakistan is growing like wild fire with the rapidly deteriorating economic. The recent spike in electricity bills has made life tougher for the common citizens, who are already facing the brunt of inflation. Though Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, last week, promised to look into the issue and provide some relief, his recent response that the electricity problem was “being exaggerated” has left many in shock.

“At a time when thousands of people are going hungry, children are being forced to drop out of schools, such an insensitive comment from the PM is unacceptable,” a citizen living outside the country told India Narrative.

Social media is abuzz with people’s plight.

“There is a growing disconnect between the general public and those in positions of power,” the Express Tribune quoted Babar Mahmood, president of Electronics Market Traders Union in Lahore as saying.

The country’s electricity tariff has been steadily increasing. The rise in electricity and fuel charges are in line with the International Monetary Fund’s pre-conditions for the $3 billion financial assistance package.

Even as thousands of traders have now gone on strike protesting against the government’s move, making life even tougher, the mammoth support the traders received would be a worrying sign for Islamabad. Protest rallies leading to unrest are now becoming more and more common in the South Asian nation. People from all walks of life are now coming out in protest against the price rise.

“Everyone is participating because the situation has become unbearable now,” Lahore’s Township Traders Union President Ajmal Hashmi told AFP. Until some relief is provided, people will find it difficult to put food on the table, Hashmi added.

“The current economic crisis and political meltdown are not just ruining the day-to-day lives of people, the status quo is breaking families and destroying the little patriotism left among the common people,” the Express Tribune earlier said in an editorial.

Meanwhile, the likely delay in general elections added to the problem

The economic situation in the country will not improve soon. While Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince of the Kingdom Muhammad bin Salman was expected to visit Pakistan next week before the G20 summit, a few reports said that the visit may not take place due to his domestic schedule. Kakar is now slated to visit Saudi Arabia next month.

However, for Pakistan, the economic problem has no immediate solution.

Also read: Not everybody’s cup of tea: Many in Pakistan are left out as tea prices surge