RAWALPINDI - Infuriated by hours long and unannounced power outages, tens of hundreds of citizens staged violent protest demonstrations against loadshedding in various parts of the city on Monday.
The areas where a large number of residents agitated against loadshedding included Rawal Road, Defence Housing Society (DHA) Phase I, Dhoke Gangal, Sadiqabad, Kuri Road, Dhoke Hassu, Bangash Colony, Sir Syed Chowk, Waris Khan and Arya Mohalla. The traders also observed a complete shutter-down at Chah Sultan, Kuri Road and Khanna Road and held demos against loadshedding.
Protestors expressed their anger against excessive power suspension being observed for more than 16 hours a day by attacking power grid stations, torching vehicles and electricity meters and tyres to block the roads and pelted policemen, who tried to disperse the irate protestors, with stones.
The protestors also chanted slogans against President Asif Ali Zardari, Premier Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Federal Minister for Water and Power Ch Ahmed Mukhtar.
According to details, scores of residents gathered at Dhoke Gangal and demonstrated against electricity suspension. Later, the charged protestors took out a rally chanting slogans against the government. The protestors also attacked Sub Division Office Dhoke Gangal and broke the furniture and other office stuff and then burnt it.
A number of government owned vehicles and electricity gauges of WAPDA were also torched by the very angry mob. After some time, a heavy contingent of police reached the spot to control the mob, however, the protestors pelted police party with stones. In retaliation, police resorted to baton charge and dispersed the mob.
Meanwhile, WAPDA authorities tendered an application with police for legal action against those who damaged WAPDA office.
On the other hand, a good number of residents of city’s posh area DHA Phase-I also came to the roads staging a protest demonstration against power outage. They bellowed slogans against the government.
Carrying bamboo sticks, more than 150 residents of Arya Mohala gathered on Benazir Bhutto Road (BBR) and staged a protest demonstration against loadshedding.
They blocked BBR for traffic by burning tyres and chanted slogans against the government. Similarly, at Waris residents of the area agitated against power suspension by setting tyres to fire besides blocking BBR for vehicular movement.
A large number of traders belonged to Rawalpindi Furniture Association, Anjuman Tajran Kuri Road, Chah Sultan, Chaklala Road and Khanna Road observed a complete shutter down strike against loadsheeding. Later, the traders took out a protest rally and staged a sit in at Gae Chowk on Rawal Road.
Mess of protestors on Rawal Road triggered a massive gridlock posing hardships for commuters and pedestrians. Police also reached there to control the situation.
The traders chanted slogans against the government and demanded an end to the loadshedding which, according to them, broke their backbones as their businesses have been running in loss.
The traders’ representatives including Taj Abbasi, Ikram Goshi and Suhail Abbas, addressing the protestors, said that loadsheeding had multiplied their miseries and destroyed their businesses.
They said that they were also facing acute water shortage but authorities concerned taking no any action. They said that the rulers were busy in looting national kitty whereas Pakistan had turned back into the age of darkness and Stone Age. They demanded the government to solve energy crises or else the traders would widen their protest.
Reportedly, massive protest demonstrations were also held by the residents at Sadiqabad, Kuri Road, Dhoke Hassu, Bangish Colony and Sir Syed Colony. The enraged protestors blocked roads by burning tyres and chanted slogans against the rulers.