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Protests if poll grievances not addressed: Imran

13 October, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) on Thursday strongly condemned the re-imposition of a huge rise in the electricity tariff by Nepra and announced the launching of countrywide agitation movements.

Talking to media persons after the meeting of the PTI's core committee here, party Chairman Imran Khan asked the government to withdraw the massive increase in electricity tariff and fulfil its promise of eliminating rampant corruption, which is Pakistan's problem number one.

However, he wondered how the rulers, who had made their way to the power corridors through massive rigging in the general elections, could tackle corruption. He threatened that his party would take to the streets if their demands are not met.

The PTI chief said the core committee did not see an end to increase in the prices of essential commodities in the wake of an exorbitant increase in the price of petroleum products and the power tariff. He said that the government was not interested in providing relief to the masses. He feared the latest increase would double the electricity bills and this would adversely affect the budget of every family. On behalf of the party, he rejected the latest hike in power rates.

He deplored that the burden of taxes was bound to fall on the poor segments of the society while very few among the affluent paid taxes. Imran said Pakistan has become a haven only for the rich who had massive wealth and stashed their assets abroad but never paid taxes, and the government did not take pains to tighten the tax noose around their necks.

He pointed out that there had been rigging in NA-256 and NA-258 on a large scale and this revealed systematic rigging and electoral fraud. Imran said that this was done in a majority of constituencies. He urged the Supreme Court to order similar verification of voters' thumb impressions in four constituencies to expose electoral fraud.

Imran said that without electoral reforms, change in the system could not be brought about to put Pakistan on the road to progress and prosperity. He feared rigging on the same pattern in the local bodies' elections and vowed that his party would not let this happen again. He called for reforms in the electoral system to ensure that future elections would be held in a free, fair and transparent manner. Imran urged for digital identification of voters in future.

About the naming of Ch Qamar Zaman as the new NAB chairman, Imran alleged that this was the outcome of an understanding between the PPP and PML-N to hide their corruption and scuttle chances of investigations and recovery of looted money. He again said the PTI would challenge his nomination in court. Imran made it clear that dialogue with the Taliban in a positive way was inevitable for peace and called for a proper forum in this connection.

Our correspondent adds from Lahore: In a statement, JI chief Syed Munawar Hasan strongly condemned the re-imposition of the huge rise in the electricity tariff by Nepra which the government had earlier withdrawn last week on the orders of the Supreme Court.

The JI chief said the government was bent upon forcing the people to launch a civil disobedience movement against the cruel hike in prices of essential items that sustain the lives of human beings.

Munawar Hasan said that the sharp raise in the electricity tariff on IMF dictation was the most cruel anti-people step. He said the rulers were slaughtering the people with the blunt weapon of a price spiral but were not ready to cut down their lavish spending or bring back their ill-gotten billions in foreign banks to the country. However, he said, the nation had offered huge sacrifices by now and this was the time for the elite and the privileged people to make sacrifices.

Munawar Hasan said that the PML-N, which had been promising relief to the masses by providing jobs and cutting down prices, had instead worsened the lot of the people by raising the POL prices and electricity tariff non-stop. He said the government has to meet IMF terms, therefore, it could not provide any relief to the masses. He said that the US wanted to deprive this country of its independence and sovereignty through the IMF and the World Bank, and the rulers were serving as its tools.

Commenting on Army Chief Gen. Kayani's address at Kakul Academy expressing satisfaction over the government-Taliban talks, the JI chief said that besides extending support to the dialogue, the army should create an atmosphere wherein the two sides could come closer, making it possible for the dialogue to begin. He said that as long as talks were not started, forces opposed to peace would conspire to scuttle talks.

End.

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