Amidst persistent and unannounced power outages and soaring electricity bills, frustration and protests peaked across the country, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The “Don’t pay electricity bills” movement has gained momentum as citizens voice their discontent.
In response, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has declared a nationwide strike on September 2 in protest against the escalating electricity prices, which have triggered widespread public outrage.
The situation has prompted the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) to take precautions against potential public anger. The company has instructed its staff to be cautious and has advised officers and employees to remove the distinctive green number plates from their vehicles to avoid being targeted. PESCO has also sought police protection for its personnel and facilities, anticipating possible attacks on WAPDA offices and installations.
As protests sweep across the nation due to the government’s inability to alleviate the public’s plight, the “Don’t pay electricity bills” movement has gained traction. People have taken to the streets in numerous cities, including Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Mardan, Charsadda, Swat, Abbottabad, and Kohat. Demonstrators are rejecting what they perceive as unjust treatment, with inflated bills that are three times higher than the original amounts, including excessive taxes. Many have resorted to burning their electricity bills as a form of protest.
In Peshawar, large crowds have congregated at various locations within the city, vowing not to remain passive in the face of perceived “injustice.” Traders from different markets have also joined in, setting fire to their power bills to symbolize their dissent.
— Khurram Iqbal (@khurram143) August 28, 2023
In response to the growing unrest, Pesco has instructed its employees to temporarily suspend the use of non-essential vehicles to prevent potential damage during ongoing protests. The company has also urgently requested police protection for its seven sub-divisions in KP, expressing concerns about possible property damage during the demonstrations.
The anger stemming from prolonged electricity issues and soaring bills has galvanized citizens into action, with protests echoing across the country. As the movement gains ground, the government and relevant authorities are under mounting pressure to address the grievances and restore public trust in the power supply system.