Merchants throughout Pakistan closed their shops Saturday to protest the country’s steep electricity bills and mounting inflation.

The general public has already mounted protests about Pakistan’s soaring cost of living. 

“Everyone is participating” in the shutdown, Lahore’s Township Traders Union president, Ajmal Hashmi, told AFP, “because the situation has become unbearable.”

A deal with the International Monetary Fund has forced Pakistan to cut popular subsidies that helped cushion true costs.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, has said the high prices are not an issue because there is no “second option.”

“When you subsidize, you shift your fiscal obligations to the future,” he said. “Rather than addressing the issue, you just delay it.”

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