Siraj asks govt to ‘reconsider’ agreements with IPPs

Published September 19, 2023
Jamaat-i-Islami activists hold placards at the sit-in outside Governor’s House, Peshawar, on Monday. — White Star
Jamaat-i-Islami activists hold placards at the sit-in outside Governor’s House, Peshawar, on Monday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq led his party’s protest sit-in outside the Governor’s House on the Sher Shah Suri Road here on Monday complaining about record inflation and the recent increase in power and oil prices.

He told protesters that the caretaker government didn’t have the mandate to hike petroleum and electricity rates.

“The government should immediately reduce the prices of flour, sugar, petroleum and other essential commodities,” he said.

Mr Siraj complained about flour shortages and power outages and said that the people were troubled by the food and energy crises. He insisted that the people were so stressed out by record inflation and joblessness that they had begun committing suicide.

Leads Peshawar sit-in against inflation, hike in power, oil prices

The JI chief said that people looked to the newly sworn-in Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, for the effective “elimination of injustice” from the country to their relief, according to a statement issued by the party’s media cell here.

He demanded of the federal government to reconsider the agreements signed by its predecessors with independent power producers and demanded the accountability of those behind those accords over irregularities.

“Incompetent rulers made agreements with IPPs and received bribes,” he said.

Mr Siraj said that his party would challenge those accords in the Supreme Court. He said he hoped that authorities would meet the people’s demands, but if that didn’t happen, then his party would go for “other options.” He didn’t elaborate on it.

The JI chief said that his party believed in a peaceful democratic struggle to claim people’s rights.

He said that the corrupt elite had destroyed the justice system along with educational and health sectors in the country.

Mr Siraj said that the elite class had made assets worth billions of rupees and utilised electricity and fuel free of charge.

“The PIA, Pakistan Railways and Steel Mills have been ruined by the incompetent rulers,” he said.

The JI emir said that only his party could resolve the country’s socioeconomic and other problems.

He said that the country was blessed with natural resources from coal to natural gas to other minerals, while thousands of megawatts of electricity could be generated from solar energy.

Mr Siraj said that only his party had the capacity to address the challenges facing the country.

JI provincial chief Prof Mohammad Ibraheem Khan, deputy chief Inayatullah Khan and general secretary Abdul Wasi also addressed the gathering.

The protesters totalled over 500 traders, students and other JI activists from different parts of the district.

They blocked the Sher Shah Suri Road before the afternoon.

“We are here to protest the recent increase in power tariff and skyrocketing prices of essential items as it has become difficult for us to feed children,” JI activist Rahimullah Shah said.

As the Sher Shah Suri Road was blocked, the police diverted traffic to other roads causing traffic jams on Khyber Bazaar and in Dabgari Gardens and Saddar areas.

They didn’t allow vehicles to go towards the Governor’s House.

The police personnel and JI workers thoroughly searched people as part of security checks before allowing them to join the sit-in.

JI Karachi emir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman and Gwadar Haq Do Tehreek leader Maulana Hidayatur Rehman were also invited to the sit-in.

The party’s provincial information secretary, Jamaat Ali Shah, said the sit-in would continue for three days.

“Monday was reserved for our activists from the central districts of KP, including Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi and Nowshera. Our workers from southern districts will participate in it today [Tuesday] and those from northern districts tomorrow [Wednesday],” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023

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