LAHORE: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on Friday announced launching countrywide protest demonstrations against the inflated electricity bills, and that the people should not pay for the luxuries of the ruling elite.

Addressing a press conference the JI Emir Sirajul Haq, flanked by secretary general Ameerul Azim and information secretary Qaisar Sharif, at Mansoorah, said the government had crossed “all limits of injustice and cruelty”.

A household, he deplored, received Rs12,000 monthly bill against power consumption worth Rs4,000. The government, he said, added over 60 per cent amount in the bill in the form of various taxes.

“We demand the government to withdraw all the taxes included in electricity bills before Aug 12.”

The protest demonstration, he said, would be held all over the country next Friday, appealing the masses to stand up for their rights and ensure full participation in the agitation under the JI banner.

He warned the government that the JI would expand the protest movement if people were not provided relief in their power bills.

Mr Haq said the people must know their miseries won’t come to an end without launching a struggle.

People, he said, should no longer become a scapegoat to pay the cost of the luxuries being enjoyed by the ruling elite. The feudal lords and mafias were looting the country’s resources with both hands, without considering the miseries of the people, he added.

He regretted that in a country where 80 per cent population lacked access to even clean drinking water and millions of children were out of school due to poverty, there was no bar to “protocol culture” and extravagance of ministers and bureaucrats at the expense of state. Why the public was forced to pay the cost of the free electricity and fuel facilities available to the ruling class, he questioned.

The JI emir blamed the PTI, the PDM and the PPP for destroying the country and damaging every institution. The ruling parties, he said, stood badly exposed now, having nothing to their credit except loot and plunder. The JI would continue its struggle for the people’s rights, he added.

To a question, he said, political parties should accept the court verdicts by rising above the personal liking and disliking. He said the three main political parties had always been seeking “backing of the establishment” to come into power.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2022

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