Amid the soaring inflation and massive electricity bills in Pakistan, the interim Prime Minister on Sunday held an emergency meeting wherein he asked the officials to ditch their free electricity and directed them to pay for their consumption. The meeting came as thousands of citizens gathered and protested against the government, where some people claimed they were forced to pay Rs 24,000 for using a refrigerator and fans at home. He often asked officials to disconnect the connection of his air conditioner (AC).
Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, who does not have much authority to make changes and push any significant change in the country, directed relevant authorities to devise “concrete steps” for a reduction in inflated electricity bills and present the plan to him within the next 48 hours, Dawn reported.
Cut my AC connection too: Pakistan PM
During the meeting, the newly appointed Prime Minister vowed to take effective measures to minimise the burden on the common man but added those dimensions should not affect the national exchequer too. "We will not take any step in haste that will harm the country. We will take measures that won’t further burden the national exchequer and will facilitate the consumers," he said.
"It is not possible that while the people face difficulties, high-ranked officials and the prime minister continue to consume free electricity paid for with the taxes people pay," the Pakistani English daily quoted Kakar as saying. The Prime Minister asked the bureaucrats to prepare a list of officials who were getting free electricity and submit the report within the next 48 hours.
"I represent the common man,” he said, pledging that measures would be implemented to minimise electricity consumption at the PM House and Pak Secretariat. For that, he added, “even if the air conditioner in my room has to be turned off, do it.”
Speaking to DawnNewsTV, one of the protestors lamented that he was the sole breadwinner of the family and his bill was Rs 24,000 even though he only used “one refrigerator and fans”. He added that last month too his electricity bill was Rs23,000.
Another protestor said that his electricity bill was Rs15,000 while house rent was Rs13,000, he asked, “Should I commit robbery? To us peaceful and pious citizens… I ask you to correct yourselves otherwise the public will not let you go.”
It is worth mentioning Pakistan has been facing massive inflation for the past two years. The prices of essential commodities went super high, resulting in unrest among the people against the government. Besides, the prices of food also climb to a zenith point where people are getting flour at Rs 150 per kg, mustard oil at Rs 550-650 per litre and milk at Rs 165 to Rs 280.