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Shuttered Markets: KP Protests Soaring Electricity Bills and Inflation

Commercial hubs and markets across the province, including Peshawar, have ceased operations.

by TNN Editor - 02 Sep, 2023 1507
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Aftab Mohmand

In response to the joint call from Jamaat-e-Islami and business organizations, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Peshawar, is observing a complete shutter-down strike today to protest against exorbitant electricity bills and the rising tide of inflation. Commercial hubs and markets across the province, including Peshawar, have ceased operations.

Prominent commercial centers such as Qisa Khwani Bazaar and Saddar in the provincial capital, Peshawar, remain shuttered. In various parts of Peshawar, traders and residents have taken to the streets to voice their dissent against high electricity bills and inflation. Some areas witnessed motorcycle rallies in solidarity with the strike.

Throughout the region, traders have established protest encampments, while protest gatherings and processions are also in progress. Participants are vociferously expressing their discontent, targeting both WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) and the government.

The aggrieved traders and citizens firmly assert that the surge in electricity bills and petroleum product prices is intolerable under any circumstances. They lament that the government's imposition of oppressive taxes on electricity bills has significantly exacerbated the hardships faced by the public.

Also Read: Inflation’s Relentless Strain: Common Man’s Plight

On one hand, the relentless appreciation of the dollar and depreciation of the rupee continue to drive up the prices of essential commodities daily. Simultaneously, the recent hike in petroleum prices has further burdened the populace, pushing them towards dire economic circumstances. In the face of such adversity, public distress is escalating, yet the interim Prime Minister contends that the level of inflation is insufficient to warrant public protest.

Members of the business community underscore that the shuttered markets signify merely the initial phase of their protest. Should the recent surge in electricity bills not be rolled back and measures to curb inflation remain unaddressed, they anticipate intensifying their protests. A united front of traders and citizens has the potential to force the incumbent caretaker government out of power.

The people are unequivocally demanding immediate government action to combat inflation; failure to do so could lead to an expanded wave of protests, leaving the rulers with no refuge.