From all indicated reports, it seems like the country is about to face a sharp rise in electricity prices. The government announced on Tuesday that it would take decisive action regarding increase in electricity tariff in a bid to avoid Rs420 billion in annual subsidies. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has also admitted that an increase in electricity prices is incoming and blamed it on the energy projects of the previous government, stating that an investigation into PML-N power plants is due.

Raising prices would be an unpopular decision but a government sometimes has to make unpopular decisions. The hike was expected and is a necessary step to balance the deficit. It is even more understandable in the wake of an IMF loan, even if it causes hardship to the common man. It is true that the losses that the government is facing in its subsidies to the electricity sector are amounts we cannot not afford in lieu of our deficit. To accept temporary unpopularity by the masses due to a necessary decision that will be beneficial in the long term is a sign of a strong-willed government.

What is not the sign of a strong government is deflection of blame and continuous bashing of predecessor governments. The PTI government needs to accept and own up to its decision of raising prices- it cannot pin all its actions on the misdeeds of the past government, and in this case, speculative misdeeds. By saying that it will launch an investigation and audits into the power plants set up by the last government, the PTI government shows once again that it has been unable to exit the narrative of corruption it used to great effect while in opposition. The government needs to start justifying its actions on their own merits.