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Thousands of Wapda workers all over the country observed 'protest day' on Thursday under the aegis of All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union CBA by holding rallies and protest march against the proposed privatization of profitable electricity entities alike Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO), Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) and 747 megawatt WAPDA (combined circle) Guddu Power Station.

They held rallies and mass processions at Peshawar, Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Rahim Yar Khan, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Quetta and other cities, a press release issued on Thursday said. At Islamabad, the workers held a big protest demonstration outside the IESCO Headquarters, G-7/4. The protesters were carrying national flags and banners against privatization of national electricity public utilities being against the public interest raising slogans "Down Privatization" Down IMF Anti Citizen policy and long live Pakistan and long live unity of the working.

It was addressed by Khurshid Ahmad Secretary General, Abdul Latif Nizamani President, Haji Muhammad Ramzan Achakzai, Gohar Taj, Regional Chairman Javed IqbalBaloch, Haji Zahir Gul and other trade union representatives of the union, XEN Mohsin Gilani President of IESCO Engineers Association (IEA), M Akram Bunda Dy General Secretary of All Pakistan Workers Confederation (APWC) and other trade union representatives.

Union leader Khurshid Ahmad General Secretary of the union while addressing the protesters reminded to the prime minister that he himself had acknowledged in public statement last month that electricity distribution companies had raised the revenue by recovery of the electricity bills from the defaulters and prevented the theft of electricity this year remarkably comparing with previous years.

He reminded to the policy makers that the electricity is a basic need of the citizen in this age. It is constitutional obligation of the state to provide this need to the citizens at equitable rates and with better services whereas the experience of the privatization of electricity utility had miserably failed even in the cities like Multan and Rawalpindi companies. Those companies had to be handed over to the WAPDA in the wider public interest while the privatization of Karachi Electric Supply Company had also miserably failed neither to overcome electricity load shedding nor provide the cheaper electricity to the citizen.

It had not been paying the state exchequer its lawful dues including the cost of supply of electricity to the WAPDA and Sui Gas of Sui Southern Gas Company Karachi and Water to the Karachi Water Board worth billions of rupees every year.

He declared that the privatization of profitable electricity companies would raise the cost of electricity small province alike Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Baluchistan and raise inter provincial dispute which would be against the national unity. By a resolution, the house urged to the prime minister to intervene and get stopped the proposed privatization of electricity national profitable public utilities in the wider national public interest and also appealed to all patriotic forces of the nation to extend their just support against the privatization of basic need of electricity in the wider public interest and reminded to the policy makers that the father of the nation had declared that the public utilities alike electricity would be run in the public sector in the wider public interest. It was declared that the union would observe protest day on October 10, 2019 if no dialogue held by the Government of Pakistan with the representatives of the union.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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