Intelligence agency warns of potential anarchy due to excessive billing

excessive over billing

ISLAMABAD: An intelligence agency has issued a warning to the federal government, urging immediate action to address the growing issue of excessive billing. Failure to do so may result in a major campaign against the government, potentially spiraling into uncontrollable chaos.

In a letter addressed to the Punjab Government, the Provincial Intelligence Centre (PIC) cited reports of widespread public protests across various districts of Punjab. These protests are primarily in response to skyrocketing electricity bills, prolonged periods of load shedding, and unannounced power outages. The PIC’s field staff conducted a comprehensive survey of both rural and urban areas in various districts of Punjab, reporting widespread agitation and unrest among the general population, according to Business Recorder.

According to the PIC, the situation has escalated to the point where individuals, particularly traders and shopkeepers, are publicly burning their electricity bills during rallies and demonstrations. Moreover, mosque loudspeakers have been utilized to encourage people to boycott electricity bill payments. Social media reports indicate instances of individuals resorting to suicide in Multan, Gujranwala, and Islamabad (Khanna Pul) due to their inability to pay their electricity bills.

The PIC’s field staff noted that the majority of protestors comprise ordinary citizens and laborers who are protesting against over-billing by WAPDA. This development is of grave concern from a law and order perspective, especially since the protests are concentrated in industrial hubs within major cities.

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Beyond the issue of inflated electricity bills, rising prices of essential commodities and public utilities are severely impacting the economic well-being of the people. Inflationary pressures in the economy are making it increasingly challenging for the average person to make ends meet.

The soaring prices of basic necessities such as flour (Atta), sugar, cooking oil (Ghee), vegetables, meat, poultry, and other daily essentials are expected to have a cascading effect on overall commodity prices, further exacerbating the hardships faced by the common man, particularly those with fixed incomes.

The worsening economic situation is anticipated to pose significant challenges for both federal and provincial governments in the near future. Urgent attention is required to address the deteriorating economic conditions. Measures must be implemented to curb the high inflation rate while ensuring that traders refrain from arbitrary price hikes. Preventing shortages of essential daily-use commodities is also crucial.

The PIC’s analysis suggests that the ongoing agitation against excessive electricity billing, combined with other issues such as unemployment, price hikes, public grievances, poverty, and political polarization, has left the populace deeply frustrated. This frustration may lead to an escalation of protests against excessive bills and heavy taxes, potentially evolving into a major campaign against the government that could spiral out of control in the coming days. Therefore, concerted efforts must be made to swiftly resolve the issue of electricity tariffs.

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