LAHORE: Large-scale demonstrations were held in different parts of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against loadshedding and unusually long hours of power outages on Sunday, as the protesters went on a rampage, attacked grid stations and clashed with police.
The ruthless suspension of electricity supply provoked consumers to come out on the streets in various parts of Lahore to lodge protests against mismanagement and inefficiency of authorities concerned.
The biggest demonstration was organised by residents of Kala Shah Kaku, who blocked one of the main arteries of the country for a few hours. The demonstrators blocked vehicular traffic on the GT Road and encircled power installations in the area. They pelted buildings and policemen with stones, setting a police vehicle and a few motorcycles on fire. Some policemen were also injured in the action.
A demonstration was also held in Ravi Block, Iqbal Town, where people blocked the vehicular traffic. They claimed that local staff of the Lahore Electricity Supply Company (Lesco) was not providing smooth supply of power to their area.
A similar protest was held in the Begum Kot area of the city where residents vented their anger against what they called the cruel policies of the government.
In Dharampura area of Lahore, residents staged a demonstration against the beat of a drum against electricity, gas and water loadshedding. They also chanted slogans against the government and criticised government policies.
The residents of Shahdara blocked the main road by burning tyres in protest against long hours of power shutdown.
PAKPATTAN: People took to the streets to register their protest against loadshedding. The demonstrators blocked the road at Chowk Jamal where police baton-charged protesters and used teargas to disperse them while demonstrators pelted the policemen with bricks, injuring four policemen.
MULTAN: Loadshedding-stricken porters blocked roads by burning tyres. They also chanted slogans against the government.
SHEIKHUPURA: Protesters blocked Lahore-Faisalabad Road while angry demonstrators in Tandliyanwala broke the windscreens of a police van.
JHELUM: Protesters blocked GT Road in protest against loadshedding during Sehri and Iftar. The protesters also attacked a grid station.
GUJRANWALA: People on Sunday staged a peaceful protest demonstration against long hours of loadshedding.
Electricity supply hours were also dotted with frequent tripping, which caused damages to house appliances. People said Gujranwala was facing worst-ever loadshedding in this hot humid weather and the month of fasting. There is no schedule for power shutdowns, which keeps people in the constant state of confusion.
CHAKWAL: People are facing severe problems due to 20 hours of electricity loadshedding in the city and its surroundings. The power supply remained suspended for several hours which caused several problems for the people. The power shutdown also caused severe water shortage in various areas of the city.
PESHAWAR: Citizens’ protests continued on Sunday against blackouts during Sehr and Iftar timings. Protesters carrying sticks attacked a Wapda vehicle and broke its windscreen. The protesters said 18-hour long power shutdowns had made their lives miserable.
SWABI: Fed up with long hours of loadshedding, violent protesters set a grid station on fire in Swabi. The locals said that announcements were made through loudspeakers after Isha prayer in Swabi late Saturday asking the people to come out of their homes to protest against long hours of power outages. Protesters gathered at the Karnal Sher Khan Chowk and marched towards the Swabi grid station sited about a mile away from Swabi town. They attacked the installation and put it on fire.
The demonstrators also attacked the offices of the ruling Awami National Party (ANP) and destroyed the signboards of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Zakat and Ushr Zarshaid Khan, who belongs to the ANP and was elected MPA from Swabi. The protestors blamed the ANP-led provincial government for failing to tackle the energy crisis. Eyewitnesses said the police fired gunshots into the air and used teargas to break up the protest. Officials of Pesco lodged a case against the protesters at the City Police Station.
Meanwhile, leaders of various political parties in Swabi said the protesters had not done anything wrong as they had been compelled to do so due to the long hours of scheduled and unscheduled loadshedding.
CHARSADDA: Enraged protestors torched the offices of Pesco to protest the unscheduled loadshedding. Led by Amanullah Khan, residents took out protest processions and burnt tyres in Farooq Azam Chowk. The protesters went out of control and torched the Pesco office before ransacking it. They also damaged official vehicles parked at the premises of the office. Protesters said they were facing severe water shortage and confronting problems during Sehr and Iftar. The police resorted to baton-charge and fired teargas shells at the protesters and arrested several of them.
NOWSHERA: Infuriated by incessant power outages, hundreds of residents stormed the Amangarh grid station, broke its main gate and smashed the windowpanes, local sources said.
Following suspension of power supply for the last two days, announcements were made through loudspeakers in the area after Zuhr prayer, asking residents to take to the streets.
The protesters, led by local elders Azam Saleh and Qari, also roughed up the grid station’s officials and injured them. They also set fire to a forested premise in the vicinity of the grid station.
The protestors attacked the house of an official, Abdul Sami, ransacked the furniture and took his family members hostage. They also beat up the policemen and snatched guns from them.
The residents complained that unrelenting power outages had made life miserable for them. They said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was producing maximum hydel-power and its consumption was lesser than other provinces but still the province was being meted out injustice.
The protesting residents declared they would block the GT Road for an indefinite period if the loadshedding duration was not reduced.
HANGU: The enraged residents of Thall tehsil took out protest procession and ransacked the grid station and burnt the official record here on Sunday against the unscheduled loadshedding. They chanted slogans against officials of the Pesco and government for failure to overcome loadshedding in the district during Sehr and Iftar. The police reached the spot and baton-charged the protesters.
LAKKI MARWAT: The residents of Dallokhel village took out a protest procession and blocked the Bannu-Mianwali Road against the unscheduled loadshedding. They were chanting slogans against the government and officials of Pesco. They said they would not pay electricity bills until the government ensured the smooth power supply.
GHALLANAI: People have to face loadshedding of up to 20 hours in Ghallanai, the headquarters of Mohmand Agency. In Safi Pandiali and Ambar, electricity remained suspended for more than 48 hours, whereas Bajaur faced loadshedding of more than 24 hours, bringing people to the streets. The ANP and PPP workers staged demonstrations against loadshedding in Pandiali, Ekaghund and Mian Mandi.
WANA: The tribesmen in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) decried the long hours of loadshedding and demanded that the government supply power to them. Businesspeople said they were facing hardships in running their shops and stores due to long hours of loadshedding.