POLITICS

Pakistan Protests Inflated Electricity Bills: Man Commits Suicide, People Set Bills on Fire

Last Updated: August 30, 2023, 12:42 IST

Islamabad, Pakistan

People chant slogans against the hikes in fuel prices and power billings, during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan. (Image: Reuters)

People chant slogans against the hikes in fuel prices and power billings, during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan. (Image: Reuters)

A man’s alleged suicide due to unpaid electricity bill shows the extent to which Pakistan has been affected by exorbitant power bills amid a financial crisis.

A man in Pakistan’s Faisalabad allegedly committed suicide after he failed to pay an electricity bill amounting to PKR 40,000 on Tuesday. The 35-year-old man Muhammad Hamza was facing financial constraints and was struggling to provide for his family. His family said that when he could not pay the bills he shot himself dead. The deceased has left behind two minor children.

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Pakistan is burning as protests against inflated electricity bills are drawing ire from the common man. People have burned electricity bills in protests and several marches and rallies have been taken out demanding a relief.

In Pakistan’s Sargodha, the Sargodha Chamber of Commerce and Industry and district bar association while a large number of the general public joined to protest against the inflated power bills. The protesters said they would not deposit the bills and said any attempts to sever the electricity will be stopped.

Traders along with office-bearers of Dera Ghazi Khan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and common people protested against the inflated power bills in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Protests were also taken out in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with traders there protesting against the inflated power bills. A shutter-down and wheel-jam strike against power bills and other issues of public concern will be held on Thursday.

The government is also unsure how to tackle the crisis as it balances itself amid three separate issues of concern. First, an economic downturn, which means Pakistanis do not have enough money for essentials and inflated power bills means more problems for them.

Second, the Pakistan government has made promises to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and it does not want to come up with any relief measures and draw its ire.

Third, if citizens keep getting enraged, it could lead Pakistan to end up in a state of unmitigated political, social and economic crisis.

Police’s role is likely going to trigger more unrest as it arrested 158 people for protesting. The issue is also being politicised as coalition partner, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as well as the Jamaat-i-Islami have sided with protesters and called for more protests.

The interim government headed by Pakistan interim Prime Minister Anwar Ul Haq Kakar will not be able to provide any relief as they do not have the power to but they said they can help ease the burden by breaking up the bills into four to six instalments but that would also require IMF’s nod.

Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Shankhyaneel Sarkar is a senior subeditor at News18, covering international issues. He is an Arsenal fan, and in his free time, he enjoys exploring of

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