RAWALPINDI, May 29: Mohammad Akram, a 59-year-old private employee, is struggling to increase his savings in order to purchase an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) device or a generator to light his home and enable his two children to continue their studies even in the summer vacations.
He is working a part-time job to earn money and his two sons are also saving from their pocket money to buy the UPS or generator in the upcoming days, as he believes even the new government would not end the loadshedding.
Mr Akram said his two sons were studying computer science in a private institute and he had no resources to buy a UPS as half of his income went to pay for his children’s fee. Therefore, he was saving money earned from his additional job.
“How is it possible for the middle class to afford this luxurious item? The price of UPS has reached Rs27,000 and a generator at Rs30,000,” he said.
“This is an artificial crisis; the incoming government will decrease the loadshedding duration from 18 hours to eight hours after it forms the government just to show people that it fulfilled their demand and gave them relief,” he said.
He said the Pakistan Muslim League-N realised the energy crisis could not be solved within a few years, and thus created an artificial shortage with the help of the power companies.
“If loadshedding does not end people will start criticising the new government within three months. Therefore massive loadshedding is being done beforehand. It is a political move of the incoming government,” he said.
This is the story of many people in the garrison city who have not bought the claims of political parties and power supply companies.
According to the Ministry of Water and Power and the power supply companies, there was a shortage of 7,000MW in the system and Rs22 billion were required to generate more electricity and improve matters in the next few days.
However, the general public cited various reasons for the prolonged power cuts.
Some were of the view that the incoming government had asked power companies to increase the loadshedding duration so that when it came to power, the people would thank the government for providing some relief.
Others passed the buck to the previous government’s inability in resolving the energy crisis and expressed hope that the situation would improve after the new government came to power.
Sharjeel Ahmed, a student at a public university, said the basic reason for the massive loadshedding was to tease those who had failed to vote for the tiger (PML-N’s election symbol). “The shortage of electricity is fabricated; a federal minister admitted he was unaware of the massive loadshedding a few days ago,” he said.
A government employee, requesting anonymity, said there was no loadshedding in the residence of government officers adjacent to the Rawalpindi District Courts, adding that the energy crisis was artificial and was aimed at improving the new government’s image.
“I didn’t vote for the previous government due to the massive loadshedding we faced for the past five years. But after the elections, electricity simply vanished and is available only for four hours a day,” said Ms. Tahira Alamgir, a school teacher at a government girls high school.
She said the recent energy crisis could have been controlled if the caretaker government had tried to manage it properly. She added that Karachi and Sindh witnessed less loadshedding than Punjab. “The tiger ate the electricity after winning,” she said.
On the other hand, some were of the view that the energy crises could not be solved within three months or even a year, and was the fault of the previous government.
“The PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) lost the elections because it did nothing to solve the loadshedding. The same will happen to the incoming government if it too fails to solve the issue,” said Nawaz Raja, a trader at Raja Bazaar.
Riaz Ahmed, a shopkeeper at College Road, said it was difficult for the next government to solve the energy crises, and it would increase loadshedding for some days and decrease it for others.
“During the election campaign, the PML-N leaders claimed they would end the loadshedding within a few months. Now they are claiming it would take a few years to solve the problem. The suffering of people will not end any time soon,” he said.