Pakistani Prime Minister Holds Emergency Meeting on High Electric Bills

Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, is holding an emergency ministers’ meeting Sunday to discuss the high electricity bills that have caused some people to take to the street in protest.“In the meeting, a briefing will be taken f…

Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, is holding an emergency ministers’ meeting Sunday to discuss the high electricity bills that have caused some people to take to the street in protest.

“In the meeting, a briefing will be taken from the ministry of power and distribution companies and consultations will be held regarding giving maximum relief to consumers regarding electricity bills,” the prime minister posted earlier this week on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper, reported that in Lahore, Sunday, dozens of people gathered their bills together and set them on fire, while chanting, “Expensive electricity is unacceptable.”

Recently increased electricity taxes have caused the monthly bills to skyrocket.

Source: Voice of America

Protests Over Power Bill Increases Spread in Pakistan

Protests against soaring power prices continued in Pakistan for a third consecutive day on Sunday, with television footage showing enraged consumers at rallies burning their electricity bills.The power supply department in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunk…

Protests against soaring power prices continued in Pakistan for a third consecutive day on Sunday, with television footage showing enraged consumers at rallies burning their electricity bills.

The power supply department in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province formally requested that police provide security for its staff and installations in the wake of threats of attacks by protesters.

For safety purposes, the department also instructed its staff to remove the license plates from their official vehicles.

The protests erupted on Friday and spread to many cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The unrest over the increased electricity bills comes as the poverty-stricken South Asian nation of about 241 million people faces an economic crisis, with inflation hovering at around 29 percent.

The protests prompted caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the high electricity bills; however, no immediate relief was announced.

Kakar's office said he adjourned the meeting until Monday. He also directed power sector authorities to devise "concrete steps" to reduce excess electricity bills and present the plan to him within 48 hours.

"We will not take any step in haste that will harm the country," the prime minister said.

The increase in power prices was a condition for Islamabad to secure a much-needed $3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. The deal came in July with the lender pressing Pakistan to carry out long-awaited economic reforms.

The government has also slashed energy sector subsidies in line with the IMF deal, sending fuel prices to an all-time high.

Local media reported that announcements from mosques in several cities had urged protesting consumers not to pay their bills until their demands are met.

Speaking to Pakistani news channels, protesters said their electricity bills were more than their house rents.

Consumers have posted copies of their latest bloated bills on social media, showing a dramatic price surge compared to the previous month's charges.

Trade union and business leaders have threatened a nationwide strike on Tuesday if the government does not reverse the rise in power charges.

Mainstream and regional political parties announced Sunday they would also join demonstrators in protest of the "exorbitant increase in electricity prices."

Last week, the Pakistani currency plummeted to more than 300 rupees against the U.S. dollar for the first time in history, raising concerns that the average Pakistani will find it more difficult to meet their financial obligations.

Officials maintain the IMF deal has saved Pakistan from default and paved the way for billions of loans and investments from longtime allies such as China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Independent economic experts and critics said the caretaker government could not immediately cut the taxes on electricity bills to meet protesters' demands because such a move would upset the IMF and jeopardize the timely release of the next tranche from the bailout package.

"The caretakers have little space to help inflation-stricken citizens without compromising on the fiscal goals of the present IMF program, which would be disastrous for the economy, as it could make the multilateral lender suspend or terminate the programme," read Sunday's editorial in English-language newspaper DAWN.

Source: Voice of America

Widespread protests against higher electricity bills hit Pakistan

Thousands took to the streets across Pakistan to protest rising power bills, some violently, forcing the power companies to seek police security.Interim Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar summoned an urgent meeting with power authorities to “review” th…

Thousands took to the streets across Pakistan to protest rising power bills, some violently, forcing the power companies to seek police security.

Interim Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar summoned an urgent meeting with power authorities to "review" the situation after angry protesters blocked roads and attacked power company representatives in several parts of the country on Saturday and Sunday.

The protesters burned old tires and blocked roads in the port city of Karachi as well as Lahore, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Multan, Hyderabad and other cities over the past two days.

The protests, unprecedented in recent history, broke out after consumers got July bills following a recent increase in rates and the addition of more taxes, a key demand of the International Monetary Fund for revival of a long-stalled financial assistance package.

The government, for its part, cites a continuing devaluation of local currency and rising petroleum prices for the latest increase in power rates.

Ever-increasing inflation, which reached 38 percent in May and later settled at 28 percent in July, has further eroded the purchasing power of a large section of the country's over 240 million people.

The South Asian country came to the cusp of default before the IMF intervened and approved $3B in financial assistance to prop up Islamabad’s faltering economy.

A video aired on multiple local broadcasters showed a group of elderly people beating up a power company representative in Karachi during a protest.

Crowds attacked power stations in parts of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, forcing power authorities to seek security.

"(Electricity) bills take up half of my monthly income. How will I pay rent, feed my kids, and send them to school?" Jan Mohammad, a laborer, told Anadolu during a protest in Lyari, Karachi.

Mohammad earns around 40,000 Pakistani rupees ($133) monthly, and got an electricity bill of nearly 20,000 rupees ($67).

Many protesters burned their bills, refusing to pay them until the previous rates are restored.

Source: TRTworld.com

Pakistan reacts to EU state’s planned ‘Quran’ bill

Pakistan has welcomed the Danish government’s decision to propose a bill that would make it illegal to burn the Quran in public. Acts of public desecration of the Muslim holy book have led to protests and diplomatic tensions between the Nordic countri…

Pakistan has welcomed the Danish government’s decision to propose a bill that would make it illegal to burn the Quran in public. Acts of public desecration of the Muslim holy book have led to protests and diplomatic tensions between the Nordic countries and Muslim-majority nations.

“This, we believe, is a step in the right direction,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website on Saturday. “Pakistan has always maintained that desecration and burning of holy scriptures constitute a serious act of religious hatred, which must not be permitted under the guise of freedom of expression, opinion and protest.”

“We hope the step taken by Denmark today would culminate in effective legislation to curb the desecration of the Holy Quran and other divine books,” the statement read, calling on other countries to follow Denmark’s path.

Earlier this week, Danish Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard unveiled a plan to crack down on the desecration of religious texts by expanding the existing ban on the burning of foreign flags. “The bill will make it punishable, for example, to burn the Quran or the Bible in public,” Hummelgaard said.

If enacted, the measure would be a departure from the government’s previous stance that the burning of the Quran is protected as freedom of expression.

According to Hummelgaard, the offense would be punishable by fines and up to two years in prison. The bill will be formally introduced on September 1.

Acts of Quran burning by activists in Denmark and neighboring Sweden have sparked outrage across the Muslim world and have led to intense protests in several countries. In July, the Swedish Embassy building in Baghdad was stormed after a Quran was set on fire outside a mosque in Stockholm.

Source: Russia Today

Rain with wind and thundershower expected in ICT, Punjab, KP, GB & Kashmir

Rain with wind and thundershower is expected in Potohar region, Islamabad, upper Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir during the next twelve hours.Hot and humid weather is expected elsewhere in the country.Temperature of some major…

Rain with wind and thundershower is expected in Potohar region, Islamabad, upper Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir during the next twelve hours.

Hot and humid weather is expected elsewhere in the country.

Temperature of some major cities recorded this morning:

Islamabad twenty-four degree centigrade, Lahore and Karachi twenty-eight, Peshawar twenty-five, Quetta twenty-two,Gilgit nineteen, Murree sixteen and Muzaffarabad twenty degree centigrade.

According to weather forecast of Met office for Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, partly cloudy weather with chances of rain-wind and thundershower is expected in Srinagar, Jammu and Leh, while cloudy weather with chances of rain, wind and thundershower in Pulwama , Anantnag, Shopian and Baramula.

Temperature recorded this morning:

Srinagar, Pulwama and Baramula fifteen degree centigrade, Jammu twenty-four, Leh ten, Shopian and Anantnag fourteen degree centigrade.

Source: Radio Pakistan

PM Kakar vows to bring higher education in Pakistan at par with world standards

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has reiterated to remove all hurdles in the way of bringing the level of higher education in Pakistan equal to the international standards.He was chairing a meeting of the vice-chancellors of all the public…

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has reiterated to remove all hurdles in the way of bringing the level of higher education in Pakistan equal to the international standards.

He was chairing a meeting of the vice-chancellors of all the public sector universities of Balochistan in Quetta on Sunday.

The Prime Minister said our youth and human resource are an important asset for the better future of Pakistan. He said multiple opportunities will be provided to youngsters in the field of higher education in Pakistan, enabling them to play an effective role in the development of the country.

Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said the lack of innovation is directly linked to the lack of research and higher education in Pakistan. He called for promoting research and new inventions in the universities.

The Prime Minister directed participants of the meeting to undertake effective planning to strengthen the foundations of higher education and modern research in the universities. He said it should be ensured that our graduates have sufficient professional training and skills to meet the requirements of the industries.

He also urged the industrial sector to make incubation centers at the universities to provide students with opportunities for the latest research.

He said such measures would not only provide trained manpower to the country's industries but also pave the way for an industrial revolution in Pakistan. He said consistent provision of quality higher education will improve all spheres of life in Pakistan.

Participants also briefed the Prime Minister about the progress on higher education in Balochistan and the problems being faced in this regard.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Commerce Ministry devising a plan to boost country’s exports

Ministry of Commerce and Industries is devising a plan to boost the country’s exports by extending all-out support to the industry stakeholders.This was stated by Caretaker Minister for Commerce and Industries Dr Gohar Ejaz while talking to leading ex…

Ministry of Commerce and Industries is devising a plan to boost the country’s exports by extending all-out support to the industry stakeholders.

This was stated by Caretaker Minister for Commerce and Industries Dr Gohar Ejaz while talking to leading exporters during his visit to All Pakistan Textile Mills Association House in Lahore.

He urged the textile exporters to shift their focus on value-added products, including garments, to achieve eighty billion dollars export target.

The Minister assured them of providing comprehensive assistance through the ministry’s trade and investment officers stationed in various international missions.

He said the government has decided to establish Business Parks in major cities to boost economy of the country.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Rain with wind and thundershower expected in ICT, Punjab, KP, GB & Kashmir

Rain with wind and thundershower is expected in Potohar region, Islamabad, upper Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir during the next twelve hours.Hot and humid weather is expected elsewhere in the country.Temperature of some major…

Rain with wind and thundershower is expected in Potohar region, Islamabad, upper Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir during the next twelve hours.

Hot and humid weather is expected elsewhere in the country.

Temperature of some major cities recorded this morning:

Islamabad twenty-four degree centigrade, Lahore and Karachi twenty-eight, Peshawar twenty-five, Quetta twenty-two,Gilgit nineteen, Murree sixteen and Muzaffarabad twenty degree centigrade.

According to weather forecast of Met office for Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, partly cloudy weather with chances of rain-wind and thundershower is expected in Srinagar, Jammu and Leh, while cloudy weather with chances of rain, wind and thundershower in Pulwama , Anantnag, Shopian and Baramula.

Temperature recorded this morning:

Srinagar, Pulwama and Baramula fifteen degree centigrade, Jammu twenty-four, Leh ten, Shopian and Anantnag fourteen degree centigrade.

Source: Radio Pakistan