Pakistan's Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Thursday refused to offer any immediate relief to the protesting masses against inflated electricity bills by saying that the country would fulfil obligations made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
People across major cities have been staging demonstrations to get a respite, but the interim government showed its inability to do anything except knock at the door of the IMF, which in June provided a USD 3 billion loan to the cash-strapped country under strict conditions.
However, the Washington-based global lender refused Pakistan's request to recover August's electricity bills over a period of six months amid raging protests, forcing Kakar to address the media and say that the consumers would have to pay the electricity bills.
We will not make false promises, nor will we deviate from our responsibilities. We will let everyone know the measures we cannot take and why, he said.
Kakar also tried to downplay the protests by saying that some political parties were playing it up ahead of elections. He also blamed power generation contracts made in the 1990s and faulty transmission systems for the electricity shortage and high price.
The caretaker prime minister also clarified that armed forces were not getting free electricity and that they paid for every unit they consumed. Similarly, he defended the free electricity provided to judges but announced taking some action against free power supply to the senior employees of power-producing companies.
On Sunday, the interim prime minister held an emergency meeting, during which he directed authorities to devise "concrete steps" within the next 48 hours for a reduction in electricity bills.
The directives were issued at the emergency meeting at the PM's Office (PMO) convened by Kakar in a bid to address the complaints about excessive electricity bills.
On Thursday, Kakar also said that the Election Commission of Pakistan was responsible for holding elections. He said that the top election body would give the final date for holding the polls, and the interim setup would conclude following the elections.
The ECP met the Awami National Party (ANP) leaders on Wednesday and assured them that the general elections would be held by January end or mid-February, allaying fears about the fate of the polls in the cash-strapped nation.
Kakar also spoke about the recent resurgence in militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, and vowed to eliminate rebels. We will resist the last person's elimination who appears to be a menace and threat to this country, he said.
He also stated that no terrorist outfit has the capacity to take over the territory of Pakistan.
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