Thousands of people protested the electricity price hike and burned utility bills across Pakistan on Friday.
Protests were held in Karachi, Hyderabad, Nawab Shah, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Attock, Rahim Yar Khan, Gujranwala, Pakpattan, Quetta, and Peshawar. People also held demonstrations in Azad Kashmir.
In Karachi, the city’s traders community joined the Jamat-e-Islami to stage a protest rally.
All Karachi Trader Alliance Chairman Attiq Mir warned the traders would take to the streets in large numbers if any of their colleagues were arrested for non-payment of electricity bills.
The protest came a day after the KE, the utility company responsible for supplying electricity in Karachi, tried to remove electricity meters in the Timber Market, where business owners allegedly attacked the KE staff.
The market remained closed on Friday in protest.
JI’s Hafiz Naeem said the situation could take a bad turn if the government continued to protect the utility company.
The KE said on Friday that its staff was attacked for the second day on Friday when they arrived in Ahsanabad to disconnect a power connection over nonpayment.
In Punjab’s Gujranwala, protesters briefly laid siege to the offices of the power distribution company, GEPCO. They set electricity bills on fire.
A similar protest was seen in Rawalpindi at the city’s busiest Murree Road. Traffic was delayed.
In Attock, people closed the main highway, disrupting traffic between Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
In Rahim Yar Khan, protesters carried black flags and marched on the office of the power distribution company.
In Pakpattan, people burned tyres and utility bills.
Protesters in KP’s Peshawar also set fire to utility bills and chanted slogans against the government.
The government has increased the power tariff under a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after it promised to cut subsidies and recover losses in the power sector.