Public outrage against IPPs is growing.

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Dr Muhammad Hanif Mughal, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Shadbad, said on Tuesday that public anger against independent power producers (IPPs) is growing due to frequent tariff hikes. For decades, IPPs have been looting the masses in the name of business. Now that they have earned trillions of rupees, they should reduce their charges; otherwise, he said they and their political facilitators may soon face the public’s wrath.

Dr. Hanif Mughal told party workers that we cannot allow IPPs to make extraordinary returns, which have depleted the nation and the masses. He warned that they must provide some relief to the people, or they may face severe consequences in the event of public backlash.

He said it is surprising that many people still consider the facilitators of private power plants and those who extend their disastrous contracts to be leaders instead of enemies of the country.

According to official data, the IPP bill is the third largest debt owed to the government after defence expenditures and foreign debt repayments. However, despite paying this amount and continuously increasing the cost of electricity, the circular debt is expanding to become a heavy burden on the national treasury.

According to Dr. Hanif Mughal, due to their aligned interests and lack of concern for the plight of the masses, no major political party will ever speak against the plunder of IPPS.

He stated that although such agreements with IPPs are impossible to cancel or amend, they cannot protect IPPs and their owners from violent public reaction.

A minor political party has accused the ruling elite of sucking the blood of the people, as they own 70 per cent of IPPs. Meanwhile, other sources assert that the leaders of major political parties or their partners own only a few power plants.

He recalled that Dr. Mubashir Hasan declared the installation of IPPs to be a heinous act that would ruin the national economy and plunder the public. There will come a time when people will not be able to pay expensive electricity bills, nor will it be accessible for industry and commerce.

He said restoring the energy sector’s viability requires vital cost-side reforms, including continuing efforts to improve transmission infrastructure and integration and expand renewable energy capacity. Improving DISCO’s performance via privatisation or management reforms and revisiting the terms of power purchase agreements is necessary.

If rulers had built dams with the assistance of private investors, it would have ensured cheap electricity. It would have saved a lot of water wasted in the sea that could have been used to boost agriculture, which would have helped the country’s rapid development, he said.

He hoped all those responsible for the crimes against the country and the masses would be brought to justice.

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