Hike in fuel, electricity prices sparks citywide protests

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KARACHI: Amid a surge in inflation and escalating fuel and petrol prices, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) on Tuesday staged protests at 15 different locations across Karachi.

The activists protested by parking their vehicles and honking horns at the main Sharea Faisal. However, an adjacent lane was kept accessible to allow the unobstructed passage of ambulances, emergency vehicles and other vehicular traffic.

On the occasion, JI Karachi Ameer Hafiz Naeemur Rehman strongly criticised the federal government for implementing what he deemed “unfair” measures that had significantly amplified the prices of fuel and electricity.

He held that the state vehicles of ministers and other government officials, and caravans escorting them, get free petrol in the name of fuel allowances. He added that this results in the loss of revenue which is subsequently charged from the public.

He urged the people to stand for their rights and peacefully resent any such move which affects the future of their children.

“The oppressive rulers of the country, through embezzlement, have pushed the nation towards default, and now they have put the burden on the 225 million people of Pakistan,” he lamented.

The JI leader asserted that imposing taxes on the country’s feudal classes could have generated substantial revenue, potentially resulting in a reduction of more than fifty per cent in petrol and electricity prices.

“The feudal class paid only Rs4 billion in the whole year while the working class paid Rs264 billion,” he said without citing any reference about the figures.

Meanwhile, the wave of resentment against exorbitant inflation was not just limited to Karachi. It has even ignited a wave of discontent among the people, prompting protests across various districts of Sindh.

In a symbolic gesture, protestors in Sujawal district on Saturday held a mock funeral procession for a motorcycle, a source of the lowest fuel consumption.

The protestors blamed the caretaker government of infringing upon the people’s right to a normal life.

They lamented that people are already struggling to afford two meals a day, and the recent hike in fuel prices threatens to further deprive them of life’s essentials.

One of the protestors Daud Zaunr said that the increase in the fuel prices would lead to an unaffordable increase in the prices of essential commodities.

The protesters were firm in their demand urging the caretaker government to withdraw all three price increases, which collectively amount to approximately Rs60 per litre for petrol, announced over the past 31 days.

In Hyderabad, the Left Democratic Front organised a rally commencing from the Old Campus of Sindh University and concluding outside the press club.

They called for urgent measures to reduce electricity costs and the prices of petroleum products.

The protestors alleged that the government’s practice of announcing price increases in the early hours on the effective date is designed to benefit petrol pump owners, who can sell stocks purchased at lower rates at new, higher prices.

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