LAHORE: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) organised protest demonstrations on Sunday against the high cost of electricity, prolonged loadshedding, and an “anti-people” budget as part of its countrywide agitation over these issues.

These protests, held at the call of JI Emir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, marked the commencement of the first phase of a “peaceful national resistance movement,” says the party.

According to a JI press release, a large number of people participated in the rallies across major cities of Punjab, including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, and Multan, as well as in different small cities and towns of the province. The party also held demonstrations in Sindh, KP and Balochistan.

The demonstrators voiced their discontent with the “IMF-imposed” budget and rising utility bills, demanding immediate relief.

JI vice-Emir Liaqat Baloch led the protest in Rawalpindi, Secretary General Amirul Azim in Gujrat, JI south Punjab Emir Rao Zafar at the Multan Press Club, Punjab Central Emir Javed Kasuri in Kasur, JI city Emir Ziauddin Ansari Advocate in Lahore, JI Emir Awais Qasim in Sargodha, and JI Emir Rana Tuhfa Dastgir in Sheikhupura.

Speakers at these events criticized the government for what they termed a complete capitulation to the IMF, resulting in a harsh and anti-poor budget.

They asserted that the government lacks credibility and legitimacy, and vowed that JI would persist in its struggle for the people’s rights.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Young Doctors Association, led by its president Dr. Atif Ch, met with JI Emir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman at Mansoorah.

The doctors apprised the JI leader of the current situation at hospitals following the fire incident at Sahiwal hospital and outlined their demands.

Mr Rehman expressed support for the doctors’ demands and urged them to avoid causing hardship for patients during their strike. The doctors assured him that patient care would not be affected by their protest.

The JI leader condemned Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz for handcuffing of doctors after the Sahiwal hospital fire, calling it a fascist act and a disgrace to medical professionals.

He demanded a public apology from the chief minister and called for a dialogue between the doctors and the government to resolve the issues, causing suffering for the people.

He demanded transparent inquiry into the hospital fire incident, besides an audit of the funds being utilised for revamp of hospital buildings across Punjab.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2024

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