Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has called an “emergency meeting” regarding electricity rates today (Sunday) as the country saw widespread protests over inflated bills on Saturday. The caretaker premier called the meeting in Islamabad on electricity rates and consumers’ bills with directions to the energy ministry and the electricity distribution companies to give a detailed briefing in this regard. In the meeting, a statement from the PM Office stated, consultations will be held regarding giving maximum relief to consumers regarding electricity bills. The general public and traders’ associations have initiated large-scale protests against soaring electricity bills and heavy taxes, with demonstrations being held in different cities pushing the government to finally take notice of the issue. Earlier a protest in Karachi, which was also supported by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), demanded a reduction in the ever-increasing electricity prices and additional taxes imposed through power bills. Speaking on the occasion, trade leaders and representatives of Jamaat-e-Islami expressed their concerns. “We reject the excessive charges being collected by K-Electric in our electricity bills,” stated a trade leader, saying that JI always takes a stand on the problems of the masses. Addressing the protesters, JI’s Karachi Amir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, warned that if the government continues to burden the public, the situation could further deteriorate. “Our struggle is against the white-collar mafia in KE,” he affirmed, underscoring the commitment to represent the people’s interests. In Rawalpindi, a demonstration took place against additional electricity charges, with citizens chanting slogans against Islamabad Electric Supply Company. Moreover, protests were also staged in Lahore, Attock, Peshawar, Quetta, Taunsa, Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Rahim Yar Khan and Multan against the inflated electricity bills. A large number of people participated in the demonstrations. Meanwhile, Anwaarul Haq Kakar said that social order can “never ever be compromised for the rule of law”, stressing a balance between the two. “We are committed and understand that the performance and the participatory idea of democracy is what is needed but at the same time, you have to strike a balance – there’s a rule of law and then there’s a rule of order,” he said, during an interactive session with students of Harvard University in Islamabad. He expressed Pakistan’s determination to establish a collaborative partnership with the United States stating that if any nation or society has to remain connected with the global unfolding, particularly in the realm of technology and research and development, it could not divorce itself from North America. Acknowledging the strides made by the US in the field of knowledge and skills over the last two hundred years, he said the rest of the world needs to benefit and learn from it. He added that Pakistan is very positive towards its relationship with the US and the two nations have a history of mutual relations. According to Kakar, there are convergences and divergences in this relationship. He said one area where we have a commonality of views is climate change, which is becoming an existential threat to every state. Pakistan sees the US as a great power but at the same time wants to see it turn itself into a major power. We want to partner that journey of greatness along with the US, he said. Tracing the history of the Pak-US relationship, Kakar regretted that we failed to articulate Pakistan’s contributions towards global peace, security as well as economic and financial institutions. When asked about the economic situation, Kakar said that the caretaker government is trying to contribute during its limited stint to document the economy and enhance the tax net. He added that the government will also focus on investing in human resources. Pakistan is gifted with natural resources, he said, adding that these not only include minerals but also its talented people. Kakar expressed the confidence that Pakistan would come out of the economic quagmire.