Industrialists in Karachi have declared a strike for December 4 in response to the recent hike in gas tariffs.
The decision comes after Pakistan announced a significant increase in natural gas prices for households and industries on October 31 as part of the measures ahead of the country’s review for a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
Faisal Moiz Khan, President of North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry (NKATI), and Javed Bilwani, Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association, stated that the raised gas rates have made it challenging for industrial units to operate. They emphasized that the increase in gas prices has escalated the cost of doing business, rendering export-oriented industries uncompetitive in international markets. This situation is particularly concerning for Pakistan, which urgently needs foreign exchange to manage its growing trade and current account deficits.
The leaders also announced that industrialists from other regions of Sindh and Balochistan plan to participate in the strike, indicating widespread discontent with the government’s decision on gas pricing.
Despite previous assurances, the industrial leaders expressed disappointment with the government, particularly the Minister of Energy, for not visiting Karachi to address their concerns. The lack of direct engagement has added to the frustration among the business community, prompting the call for a strike. The planned industrial action reflects the growing tension between the government’s economic policies and the business sector’s ability to remain viable in a challenging economic landscape.