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LAHORE: Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq has addressed the sit-in protest in front of Governor House on the third and last day, demanding the government provide relief to the poor and bring down prices of electricity, petrol, gas and other basic need items.

The caretakers, he said, lacked mandate for rising power tariff, instead their job was to ensure peaceful environment for free and fair polls.

The JI observed sit-in in front of Quetta Governor House on Sunday, he said, vowing to persist in the struggle until the rights of the people are duly addressed. The protest movement is part of the JI’s ongoing campaign against inflation. It already held protest rallies in different cities of southern Punjab, Rawalpindi, and Faisalabad besides staging a three-day sit-in in front of Peshawar Governor House.

Haq appealed to the Chief Justice to take action against IPPs agreements which were the main reason behind high tariff. He called for making public the agreements with the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), saying they had been signed to protect the interests of the companies and by taking kick-backs.

Haq said former ruling parties took benefits from the contracts and no one was ready to hold them accountable, he added. The JI chief said the nation had great hopes from the current CJP.

He said the previous five years brought destruction in every sector. The PDM and the PPP government 16-month tenure was the continuation of the PTI rule, he said, adding those who had led rallies against hikes in prices eventually multiplied the inflation after coming into power.

He lamented that the government had sought approval from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) even to allow struggling consumers to pay their hefty bills in installments, asserting that the nation’s sovereignty had been compromised at the hands of international lending agencies and foreign powers.

Haq urged the government to shift its focus from sending high bills to consumers towards addressing the billions lost due to line losses and power theft. He pointed out that the ruling elite benefited from free electricity, resulting in significant losses to the national treasury, while the burden fell on the impoverished citizens.

He said instead of moon and start, the begging bowl had become national symbol and it was due to flawed policies of the previous governments. He said the JI was the only hope and it would transform Pakistan into welfare state if voted to power.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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