A number of Punjab cities on Sunday witnessed public outrage at massive electricity loadshedding. Sialkot was an exception to the extent that rallies remained peaceful.
SAHIWAL, June 17: Loadshedding protesters set ablaze two police stations, Mepco Main and Complaint offices on Burewala Road in Chichawatni City.
The rioters burnt a police vehicle and five private vehicles parked outside City and Saddar police stations. Four motorcycles belonging to Mohafiz police were also set ablaze at Mepco Main Office.
During attack, nine criminals from City police station managed their escape from lockup.
A source told Dawn that unruly mob moved along different parts of the city for eight hours but police did not take action.
Shahzad Cheema, Pakistan People’s Party MPA from Chichawatni, alleged that the possibility of PML-N’s involvement at local level in such organised attacks could not be ruled out.
It was learnt that protesters threw stones, broke windowpanes, damaged furniture at Election Office and attacked residence of PPP MNA Chaudhry Zahid Iqbal. The guards at MNA’s residence resorted to aerial firing to disperse the mob. Later, Mr Zahid alleged that his house was attacked on the orders of Shahbaz Sharif.
There were reports of clashes between supporters of PPP and PML-N at certain places. Three police officials among six people suffered injuries in clashes. There were unconfirmed reports that on Saturday evening announcements were made in different surrounding villages of Chichawatni through mosque loudspeakers wherein PML-N MPA Arshad Jat and his brother Tufail Jat asked citizens to hold rallies against unscheduled loadshedding.
GUJRANWALA: The city and surrounding major towns on Sunday witnessed massive protest against unscheduled loadshedding.
The angry protesters blocked Railway Line, GT Road, set ablaze tyres and smashed windowpanes of a bus and an ambulance. The rioters also did not allow a PML-N MNA to participate in their protest and forced him to go back to home.
The main demonstration against loadshedding was held on GT Road near Kangniwala where a large number of people gathered and blocked it by setting tyres on fire. The angry protesters chanted slogans against the government. There were long queues of vehicles on GT Road and some passengers fell unconscious due to scorching heat.
In Kamoki, a number of people blocked GT Road from both sides, stopped Shalimar Express for three hours and also forced the traders to close their shops.
Meanwhile, PML-N MNA Rana Nazir Ahmad came there to express solidarity with protesters; however the public did not allow him to stay there and cash in on the situation, forcing him to go back after an exchange of harsh words. The protesters told the media that they were facing 22-hour loadshedding daily which had ruined their business and paralysed life.
RPO Amin Venis and CPO Kamran Yousaf also visited Kamoki who assured the protesters that their message would be conveyed to high-ups on which the rioters dispersed.
People also took out rallies against non-availability of power supply at Emanabad, Garjakh, Dhullay Chowk, Noshehra Road and Fatomand and chanted slogans.
TOBA TEK SINGH: Hundreds of people on Sunday blocked rail track for two hours and forcibly closed level crossing on Pirmah-Kamalia railway line at Pirmahal during protest against Faisalabad Electric Supply Company over more than 20-hour electricity loadshedding.
A group of youngsters staged a sit-in on the track. Scores of citizens from various localities gathered at Water Works Park.
Carrying sticks they marched along Saddar Bazaar, Sabzi Mandi Road, Main Bazaar and Karkhana Road and reached Allah Hoo Chowk on Faisalabad-Pirmahal-Multan Road where they set ablaze old tyres and blocked traffic for more than two hours. They also burnt tyres on different roads and in bazaars as a result traders had to close their shops.
They also staged a sit-in for three hours at Malik Chowk on Faisalabad-Pirmahal-Multan Road. Later, police from Kamalia and Toba reached the spot and held talks with leaders of protesters. They assured the rioters that Fesco and the government would be apprised about their demand to immediately reduce duration of loadshedding hours as a result they dispersed.
At Kamalia, citizens pelted private vehicles with stones and blocked Kamalia-Chichawatni Road for two hours.
At Adda Philour on Rajana-Samundri Road, villagers set tyres on fire, blocked traffic for more than an hour and chanted slogans against Fesco and the PPP government.
Rajana police on Sunday registered a case against 150 villagers who had allegedly damaged vehicles, injured some policemen and blocked traffic during protest against power outages near Adda Kot Khitran on Kamalia-Rajana Road on Saturday night. When contacted, a police official said no arrest had so far been made.
SHEIKHUPURA: Like other parts of province, PML-N activists, officer-bearers and citizens on Sunday held demonstrations in Sheikhupura, Nankana, Ferozwala, Muridke, Shahkot, Sangla Hill and other areas against prolonged electricity loadshedding.
In Sheikhupura, a number of PML-N activists carrying banners and placards staged a sit-in on Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Sargodha roads suspending traffic for more than two hours. The protesters chanted slogans against the president and premier for their alleged corruption and hatching conspiracies against the judiciary to conceal their black money.
Speaking on the occasion, MNA Javed Latif, MPAs Pir Ashraf Rasool and Haji Ghulam Nabi said the federal government did not have any interest to resolve the power crisis.
The PML-N workers, led by local leaders at Kot Abdul Malik, blocked motorway near Faizpur Interchange against outages. Later, National Highway and Motorway Police got restored traffic.