PESHAWAR, Aug 4: One person was killed and another injured when police opened fire on protesters while they were trying to take out a rally and block the road against unscheduled loadshedding at Inqilab Road in the limits of Badhber police station here on Thursday, eyewitnesses said.
A source said that the residents of Surizai Bala had taken out a procession against the unscheduled power outages and tried to burn tyres on the main road, but the local police did not allow them. In the meantime, he said, the police opened fire which resulted in the killing of one Rahib Gul and injuries to another person. Later, the people blocked the road in protest. An official said that police had resorted to firing in a state of compulsion as the people wanted to close the road, which was going to create problems for hundreds of commuters in the scorching heat. He said that police wanted to disperse the people, but a bullet inadvertently hit one of the protesters.
However, when contacted the concerned deputy superintendent of police Sahibzada Sajjad said that one person had been killed but it was yet to be ascertained as to who killed him.
He said that the people had also taken out procession on Wednesday and exchanged hot words with local shopkeepers who had declined to close their shops.
“We have not registered a case as the heirs of the deceased have so far not nominated anyone in the FIR,” the DSP said. Meanwhile, it was learnt that people at Kohat Road had also taken out processions and chanted slogans against the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) and the government for no electricity most of the time. They were of the view that the power supply was suspended for many hours forcing the people to come to the streets.
According to a report from Mansehra, a large number of people of Balakot and the adjoining areas blocked the main Mansehraâ€“Balakot road for over two hours in protest against the Pesco's inefficiency to ensure supply of electricity according to the schedule.
Speaking on the occasion, Zahir Khan, Mohammad Tayyab and others said that the Pesco was resorting to over 16 hours loadshedding, which was a great injustice with the people.
They said that people of the area could not sleep for the entire night on Wednesday as power remained suspended till morning in Mansehra, Battagram and Kohistan.
They said that if the government did not end the current spate of unscheduled loadshedding they would block the Mansehra-Balakot road for indefinite period.
The protesters dispersed peacefully after the DSP assured them that he would take up the issue with the Pesco authorities.
People also held demonstrations in parts of Battagram and Kohistan districts against power outages during the Ramazan.
The speakers at these meetings said that owing to the frequent power outages the business had come to standstill.
In Swabi, activists of various political parties staged a protest demonstration on Thursday against the unabated loadshedding in Ramazan.
The protesters were led by Shah Wali of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf, Noor Zada of Swabi Qaumi Mahaz, Mohammad Ali of Jamaat-i-Islami and Wahid Shah of the ruling Awami National Party. They said that even Iftar and Sehr were not exempted from loadshedding as announced and claimed by the government.
Leaders and workers of the parties and people of the area gathered near the Swabi bus stand and marched up to Kernel Sher Khan Chowk where the protesters were addressed by their leaders.
Mr Noor Zada alleged the corrupt officials of the Pesco had been violating the government directives while supporting the power thieves.
The rally leaders also held talks with the executive engineer concerned, who told them that he did not have the authority to stop loadshedding conduced by the Wapda from Islamabad and Peshawar. However, Mr Wali of PTI claimed that the engineer requested for giving him three days.
The protesting parties also constituted a committee that would monitor the loadshedding. Members of the committee warned that if excessive loadshedding was not reduced they would give a call for wheel-jam strike, for which traders of the district had already assured a complete support.