MUZAFFARGARH - Scores of activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and members of civil society, on Thursday, observed countrywide protests against the hike in power tariff.

Claiming that the masses’ response to the PTI protest call was positive, PTA leader Rana Mehmood Akhtar told the media that “the people took to streets against the hike in power tariff and levy of fuel adjustment charge (FAC). He said although the call for the protest was given on a short notice, the people responded positively since they were suffering at the hands of the rulers. He questioned why PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the so-called opposition were tight-lipped over the fresh hike in power cost, gas, fertilizers and agricultural inputs.

He said the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) approved 21 per cent increase in power tariff on March 20, a month after it increased electricity rates by 39 per cent.

He alleged that the increase in prices came after the Nepra approved four petitions filed by the state-owned Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), a subsidiary of the state-owned National Transmission and Dispatch Company.

The CPPA claimed that its fuel costs for the month of October 2011 through January 2012 were far higher than those it was allowed to bill and so it must increase tariff to recover the costs it already paid to power generation companies.

In Muzaffargarh, PTI workers, under the leadership of PTI Joint Secretary Nadeem Kahloon, staged a demonstration and burnt an effigy of the minister concerned. They also rejected the proposed increase in the prices of petroleum products.