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Political siege of Wapda House

July 15, 2013

PESHAWAR/TIMERGARA, July 14: The ruling parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have threatened to launch a protest movement if Wapda and federal government fail to ensure smooth power supply to consumers in the province till Monday.

“We will besiege Wapda House, if power loadshedding continues,” the lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf told a press conference here on Sunday.

Led by Ziaullah Afridi, adviser to chief minister, they said that federal government had promised that loadshedding would not be observed during Sehr and Iftar times but it failed to fulfil its commitment.

The people were subjected to the worst kind of loadshedding in the holy month of Ramazan, they added.

Flanked by MPAs Ishtiaq Ormar, Arif Yousaf and Javed Naseem, Mr Afridi said that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially Peshawarites, were facing serious problems owing to power outages. The Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) was least bothered to control loadshedding, he said.

“We held meetings with Pesco chief Tariq Sadoozai and apprised him of the public grievances but he did not pay any heed to us. He said that power supply was suspended from Islamabad and the company could not do anything in this connection,” Mr Afridi said.

Besides, he said, Pesco was forcing consumers to pay Rs80,000 for repair of a power transformer. He said that private workshops were running in connivance with Pesco officials, who collected money with both hands as the consumers had no other option but to pay the amount for repairing faulty transformer.

Mr Afridi said that Chief Minster Pervez Khattak would also participate in the proposed protest against Wapda and federal government. He alleged that Pesco chief was appointed on the recommendations of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman so he was supporting his party in the by-elections. “We are generating 4,800 megawatts electricity and our demand is only 2,300 megawatts but despite that our province is subjected to loadshedding,” said Ishtiaq Ormar.

It may be mentioned here that the chief minister has already said that he would join the protest if Wapda and federal government fail to end loadshedding in the province. In a separate statement, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), a partner in the coalition provincial government, has also expressed concern over the loadshedding, saying people will take to the streets if the problem is not resolved at the earliest.

“We will also be compelled to lead the protest against power outages,” said the statement issued by QWP provincial chief Sikandar Hayat Sherpao. He said that prolonged power outages had brought life to a standstill in the province. Sikandar Sherpao, who is also provincial senior minister, said that people in rural areas were facing acute shortage of drinking water owing to loadshedding.

The senior minister said that it was the duty of Wapda to ensure smooth power supply to the province. He said that federal government failed to fulfil its commitment about providing uninterrupted electricity to people during Sehr, Iftar and Taraweeh times.

He threatened that people would take to streets against power loadshedding and entire responsibility would rest with Wapda.

The Jamaat-i-Islami, another coalition partner in the provincial government, has also warned of protest by its workers against the unscheduled loadshedding in the province.

“Power supply remains suspended when people are busy in offering prayers and having Iftar and Sehri. On the other hand, the mercury has also shot up to make lives of people miserable,” JI spokesman Advocate Israrullah Khan said in a statement.

He demanded of the federal government to end power loadshedding forthwith. He said that entire responsibility would rest with Wapda and federal government if people took to streets.

Meanwhile, the residents of Talash area in Dir Lower threatened to block Chakdara-Chitral Road if government failed to overcome the problem of power outages and low voltage.

A delegation of political activists including Liaquat Khan, Inayatur Rehman, Dilawar Khan, Ghulam Rashid, Mohammad Sher, Syed Akbar Khan and Gul Hakim visited the office of Pesco sub-divisional officer Zahir Hussain and Chakdara grid station in-charge Mohammad Ayub and informed them about the problems of people. They said that electricity remained suspended at Sehri, Iftar and Taraweeh times in the area. They said that power voltage had also been low since the start of Ramazan.

The delegation set a three-day deadline for the authorities concerned to overcome the problem, saying people would take to streets if their demand was not met. The Pesco officials ensured the delegation of their support, however, they said that they couldn’t resolve the issue of low power voltage. “We are getting low voltage from Mardan,” said in-charge of the Chakdara grid station.