The Jamaat-e-Islami has called off its somewhat unique protest against the energy crisis in Karachi on Tuesday, but with an announcement of a sit-in outside the Governor’s House on October 6.
“The Jamaat-e-Islami is fighting the case of the people,” JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman told party supporters as the religiopolitical party ended its protest at 15 locations in the city. “We are intensifying our protest movement.”
The protest caused a massive traffic jam as it came at an hour when most of the workers started leaving for their home from the office.
The JI has emerged as one of the strongest voices against inflated electricity bills and rising fuel prices. Its sit-in in Peshawar entered its second day on Monday.
The JI has announced that it would protest at 100 locations in Karachi next week, with a sit-in outside the Governor’s House—an area that connects CM House and top hotels. The hundred locations would be shared later
The Karachi JI chief led the party’s protest at Shahrah-e-Faisal. Due to the protest, the flow of traffic on one of the main arteries of the city and surrounding areas was severely affected.
“We protested after the government hit a petrol bomb [increase in petrol prices],” Rehman who was standing on the party’s protest truck told his supporters. He took a jibe at PPP mayor Murtaza Wahab for allegedly seeking a car and free electricity while the people were hit by inflation.
He highlighted that the salaried class in the country paid taxes while the landlords “did not”. Rehman demanded the government to tax landlords who according to him have only paid Rs40 million in taxes.
Rehman reiterated his demand for providing relief to the public on electricity. “Whether decrease the price of petrol or go home and conduct elections,” he stated.
The engine switch-off protest in Karachi was held at 15 spots, according to online posters.
At least two points on Sharae Faisal, the main artery of the city, were be blocked.
The following spots were announced by the party: Orangi, Korangi, UP Morr, Kala Pul, Shehshah, Qauidabad, Star Gate on Sharae Faisal, Nursery on Shrae Faisal, Sohrab Goth on M9 Motorway, Malir 15, MA Jinnah Road, Lee Market, Water Pump Sharah Pakistan, Haideri, and the Millenium Mall.
Before the protest, JI Karachi spokesperson Zahid Askari told Aaj News that the protest was symbolic and would last only ten to fifteen minutes.
“Before your vehicles shut down for good [due to rising fuel prices] it is better to switch them off briefly,”
In response to a question, he said that in the face of rising energy costs, many people have already stopped using cars while motorcyclists have been struggling to buy petrol. “Before your vehicles shut down for good [due to rising fuel prices] it is better to switch them off briefly,” he said.
For a common man buying a bicycle had become impossible, he claimed and added that the protest was voluntary and protesters would give way to ambulances.
In a video released by the JI social media team, Rehman urged people to take to the road and switch off their motorcycles and vehicles there.
He also told supporters to give way to ambulances.
“Come out for yourself and the rights and future of your children and become a force that repels this oppressive group,” he said.
Protesters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, meanwhile, gathered before the Peshawar Governor House on Monday to begin the three-day protest sit-in. Party chief Sirajul Haq addressed the protest on Tuesday.
Siraj lamented that the people were longing for peace. He claimed that corrupt elites were controlling the resources and mafias were part of the government.
The JI chief went on to add that at a time when the people were suffering from inflation, the mafias were having an increase in their properties.
“Due to the incompetence of the rulers, the people are bearing the burden,” he said and vowed that the protest would continue until relief was given.