Manan Mandokhail, Syed Ali Shah:
QUETTA: Traders community staged a protest demonstration against overbillings and burnt electricity bills outside the Quetta Press Club on Tuesday evening. Scores of traders gathered outside the press club and chanted full-throated slogans against the Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) for sending heavy electricity bills to the consumers.
“We cannot pay these heavy bills”, Rahim Kakar, the President of the Anjaman e Tajiran Balochistan said. He urged the traders’ community not to pay what he called the heavy bills and burn them. “This is an exploitation of the traders’ community by the present rulers”, Mr. Kakar lamented.
Overbillings sparked protests across Pakistan
Overbillings across Pakistan have sparked protests and traders have been at the forefront of protests against the QESCO. “Traders are fed up with increasing taxes and now QESCO has compounded our problems”, Hazrat Ali Achakzai, another leader of the traders community said.
The protesting traders blocked the main road outside the Quetta Press Club and caused the suspension of traffic. Strict security measures were adopted by the administration to maintain law and order situation.
The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has sent heavy bills to consumers across the country. This has sparked protests and traders have taken to streets and roads to vent their anger.
Protests to be intensified
Rahim Kakar said it was just a symbolic protest and it would be intensified as per the decision of the traders’ community on the central level. He said the government has included 13 new taxes in power bills.
The protesters lashed out at the federal and provincial governments for their failure to support the traders’ community and reduce the number of taxes. “We will block this system if rulers do not change their policies”, Hazrat Ali Achakzai warned.