Disrupting the Grid

Prolonged power outages during this extreme heat wave are an existential issue for Pakistanis who suffer from both the heat and electricity load shedding. The power shortage is structural, with two major contributing factors: power theft and dysfunctional power plants. Efforts to increase electricity supply to the national grid are underway, with projects like the Dasu and Kohala hydropower plants, but there is no overnight solution.

The reaction of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chief Minister, Ali Amin Gandapur, to the situation has been immature, openly inviting people to act similarly. For a government official, especially a Chief Minister, to enter a grid station and forcefully alter routine operations is nonsensical. The government is the guarantor of law and order, but by his actions, CM Gandapur is setting a precedent for taking the law into one’s own hands and disregarding official conduct. Negotiations over disagreements have been ensured by the federal government, and the CM expressed hope that a solution would be found. However, by ordering his party officials in various areas of the province to follow his example, the CM has deviated from the path of negotiation.

Administrative matters require patience and strategy. The issue of power outages lasting eighteen to twenty-two hours is a serious matter that requires provincial and federal governments to create a mutual plan to alleviate people’s misery. Storming into grid stations is an abuse of power and disrupts the state’s order. The populist fervor of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has cooled, and it is time for CM Gandapur to leave behind the euphoria of mob power and act like an elected Chief Minister.

Simultaneously, all possible efforts must be dedicated to addressing the issues with KP’s government. The central government must reveal its strategy for gradually decreasing load shedding, ensuring no discrimination in this matter.

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