PESHAWAR/QUETTA/LAHORE - Protests against power outages continued on Tuesday as the public outrage is multiplying day-by-day amongst the residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Balochistan.
Despite being an ally of the ruling PPP, the ANP workers in Charsadda also staged protested against loadshedding at Tehsil Bazaar and chanted slogans against the Wapda authorities. In Punjab, the protesters again reacted violently as the residents of Phularwan in Sargodha held a demonstration for the second day, as smashed the electricity meters, torched tyres and blocked the main road. They also gathered outside the local police station and demanded release of the demonstrators arrested during earlier protests.
Meanwhile, protests have also been reported from Hyderabad and some other towns of interior Sindh. Like other parts of the country prolonged loadshedding has also perturbed the people of Balochistan, who have been experiencing 12 hours of power cuts in urban areas and 16 to 18 hours of cuts in other district headquarters. Though, loadshedding had already destroyed the agricultural sector of Balochistan which is the mainstay of economy of people, now the people have been deprived of drinking water in this sweltering hot weather.
It has been learnt that eight to ten hour of loadshedding is being carried out in Quetta, 16-hour in the district headquarters and 16 to 18 hours in remote areas.
“Prolonged and unscheduled load-shedding has made the life of common people miserable. There no proper timing for carrying out loadshedding. There is no electricity during Iftar or Traveeh times,” complains Abdul Malik, a resident of Sariab in the provincial capital.
The prolonged outages has inflicted colossal loss to the business community who have staged demonstrations and observed shutter-down strikes in Quetta. According to the Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco), Balochistan is facing a shortfall of about 630 megawatts against the total requirement of 1,230 megawatts. “Six to eight hour loadshedding is being carried out in Quetta, 12 hours in the district headquarters and 14 to 16 hours in remote areas. A total of 17 districts are facing loadshedding,” a Qesco spokesman said.
Situation is more grave in remote areas of Balochistan where 14 to 18 hour loadshedding is being carried out that has deprived the people of drinking water since water supply is carried out through tube-wells and turbines in most of these areas.
A local journalist, Manzoor Ahmed, told this ascribe on phone from Nushki that people are facing problems due to acute shortage of water in different remote areas of the district. “Tube-wells are not functioning and there is no other alternate to get drinking water, while the ice factories have been closed because of regular suspension of electricity, which has added to the woes of people,” he noted.
On the other hand, the presidential orders seem ineffective when it comes to tackling the unscheduled electricity loadshedding amidst scorching heating.
In Attock, citizens protested against government and blocked the Burhan Road for all traffic as burnt tyres and pelted stones at vehicles.
President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday had summoned an emergency meeting to discuss the overall situation regarding power crisis and directed the relevant ministries and departments to make coordinated efforts for ending the unscheduled electricity and gas loadshedding in the country.
According to details, urban areas are facing ten hours of power cuts and 16 hours of loadshedding is being carried out for the rural population.