LAHORE - The traders, industrialists, growers and particularly the general public is screaming over the proposed increase in electricity tariff, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is tightening its screw around Pakistan, thanks to the PPP-led government for making the lives of the people more miserable. The so-called people friendly government has been left with no other option but to implement one of the conditionalities of the IMF by October 1, no matter it would put extra burden on the already inflation-hit public. The traders and industrialists termed the increase in power tariff as 'drone attack on industry and announced that they would be compelled to launch countrywide protests for their survival if the implemented the IMF policies. The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has straightforwardly rejected the proposed six per cent hike in electricity tariff and announced they would close down their units and handover keys to the government if the tariff raise implemented on IMF orders. After addressing an emergent meeting with the representatives of four industrial area associations including Lahore Township Industrial Association, Ferozepur Road Industrial Area Association, Katar Band Industrial Association and Kahna Kacha Industrial Association, the PIAF Chairman Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said the increase in electricity prices was bound to bring the industrial wheel to a grinding halt as the input cost is already too high and Pakistani merchandise had lost their due place in the international market and if electricity prices go up further, how the Pakistani merchandise would be able to win buyers in the international market when there prices would be higher than the same quality goods of other countries. Talking to The Nation Irfan Qaiser Sheikh further said that instead controlling line losses and making arrangements to stop electricity thefts, the authorities were busy to further increase in electricity prices. He also suggested to the government to minimize the administrative cost of the power generation agency that is an undue burden on the consumers. Therefore, this should be controlled on emergent basis, he added. Former MNA and renowned industrialist Pervaiz Malik strongly criticised the PPP-led government for evolving anti-people economic policies. He said that government should complete hydle projects on war footing basis despite making huge increase in electricity prices. Pervaiz also suggested that the government should cut down its non-development expenditures and reduce the army of ministers instead of imposing more taxes on people. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muthidda Kisan Mahaz (PMKM) also rejected the proposed increase in power tariff and announced to launch countrywide protests against the increase in electricity tariff. When contacted, President PMKM Ayub Khan Mayo said that they had decided to launch massive protests against the proposed increase in power tariff. We have also decided not to pay the electricity bills in protest if the government increased the tariff on October 1, 2009, he added. He further said that the PPP-government is implementing the policies of the World Bank and IMF and making the lives of the poor people particularly the farmers more miserable. More interestingly, In July, 2009, the Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had said, Pakistan will negotiate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the power tariff issue as enhancing electricity charges would create problems for the government as well as for the people and added that if required, the government could even give a subsidy to mitigate the electricity problem for the people. It is not logical to enhance electricity rates at a time when people are facing load-shedding problems, Tarin has said. But ironically, the federal government is all set to announce 24 per cent increase in power tariff in three phases starting from October 1, at a time when the power consumers are facing 6 to 8 hours unannounced load shedding.