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LAHORE: Traders of Lahore on Saturday closed their shops as a protest against rising inflation and skyrocketing electricity bills and fuel prices.

The strike call was given by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and different traders associations and was supported by lawyers and transporters.

According to details all the major markets of Lahore including Urdu Bazaar, Mall Road, Shah Alam Market, Anarkali as well as Hall Road, Branderth Road, Nishtar Road, Nisbet Road, and Food Street were closed. No business activities were seen in Nolakha Bazaar, Loha Market, Circular Road, Anarkali, Icchra Bazar, Ganpat Road, Soha Bazar, Moti Bazar, Delhi Darwaza, Chemicals Market, Liberty Market, Township Market, Green Town Market, and Model Town Link Road.

Karachi traders observe strike against hike in fuel prices, power tariffs

Public transport and other forms of commute were also restricted, reducing vehicular traffic on major thoroughfares.

Meanwhile, the business community, under the banner of the Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF), held peaceful protest rallies against the soaring cost of living, including higher fuel and utility bills and record depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, which has led to widespread discontent among the trade and industry.

The protest rallies against the inflated power bills were led by PIAF patron-in-chief Mian Anjum Nisar, Chairman Faheemur Rehman Saigol and other leadership of the PIAF, BMP and FPCCI. The protesters chanted slogans against the successive governments for escalating energy cost and made the commitment that their protest will continue until the withdrawal of

power tariff hike in the country.

The protesters said that thousands of traders have shuttered their shops, striking over soaring energy and fuel bills stirring widespread discontent. There were widespread market closures on Saturday in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, where abandoned bazaars were posted with placards decrying the unreasonable increase in electricity bills and taxes. Everyone is participating because the situation has become unbearable now. Some relief must be given so people can put food on the table.

Addressing the protesters, PIAF patron-in-chief Mian Anjum Nisar and Chairman Faheemur Rehman Saigol observed that the successive governments had compelled the business community to unanimously show their shutter down power.

They made it clear that the strike call was apolitical and refused to pay unjustified taxes and increased petroleum and electricity prices. They said the government had forced the traders and public on the roads by hiking the power bills, which were higher than their monthly salaries.

They demanded the rulers suspend free supply of power to influential people.

Mian Anjum Nisar termed shameful the statement of caretaker Prime Minister about the public outcry against the electricity bills.

He said traders’ organisations across the province had announced their support for strike call. He said protest and strike were the constitutional right of the people and they would not succumb to any browbeating of the government.

PIAF Faheemur Rehman Saigol, addressing the protesters, accused the government of implementing the IMF agenda and said there would be no compromise on their countrywide protest against the inflated electricity bills and increase in petroleum prices.

He said that decades of mismanagement and instability have hobbled Pakistan’s economy, and the govt was forced into a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert so called default.

He said that the markets across Lahore remained closed on Saturday in protest against inflated electricity bills and rising inflation in the country. Traders cannot pay such heavy bills, as it is destroying our businesses, he said and urged the Caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar to take back the recent hike in the electricity bills. The inflated power bills triggered country-wide protests from Karachi to Khyber and protests in some parts of the country are turning violent.

The protesting masses have been demanding that the government should end the provision of free electricity to the notables and provide them relief as the bills they have been receiving are more than their salaries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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BK Sep 03, 2023 03:15pm
It’s such a shame, the army called in their five star economist, Dar to come fix the economy. He should have been put in jail as soon as he landed in Pak but instead he was given the authority to steer our economy. He created a complete and utter disaster and has not gone back to London! SERIOUSLY!!! Thanks a lot Bajwa/Munir These protests are music to my ears, things need to change and perhaps these protests will ignite the first spark for that.
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Johnny Walker Sep 03, 2023 04:34pm
These are the same traders and so called non-filers who refuse to pay income tax. Jokers.
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Daily Asia Sep 03, 2023 09:56pm
@Johnny Walker, you are 100% tight. Whenever they increased prices without any justification, or black market things. They should be punished hard.
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