SWABI: Four people, including policemen, were injured during a violent protest in Swabi against the excessive loadshedding on the first day of Ramazan on Friday.
Also in the day, the police baton-charged power protesters in Charsadda leaving over a dozen injured.
Many protesters landed themselves in the police lock-up for blocking roads and pelting signboards and vehicles with stones.
In Swabi, hundreds of protesters stormed Pesco offices in Chota Lahor sub-division at midnight before setting record, computers, dozens of power meters, 10 transformers and other valuables on fire.
Three police personnel and one protester suffered injuries during the violent protest.
Police baton-charge protesters, arrest many in Charsadda
The police alleged that protesters brandishing arms fired gunshots in the air.
The mob later went to Chota Lahor local court offices and torched documents, furniture and vehicles, including motorcycle and fire engine, there.
The protesters also blocked the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway near Swabi interchange for over an hour shouting slogans against Wapda and government over the excessive loadshedding.
The protest began at 11pm and ended around 30 minutes before Sehr after DC Matiullah Khan, DPO Sajjad Khan and relevant government functionaries showed up and assured protesters that there would be no more unscheduled loadshedding in the area.
The DPO said around 2,500 people participated in the protest. Led by newly-elected local government representatives, the protesters, mostly youths, appealed to the people of Chota Lahor tehsil and surrounding areas from mosque loudspeakers to step out and protest against the excessive loadshedding.
They later gathered in Zakarya Shakh and blasted Pesco for unscheduled loadshedding.
DPO Sajjad Khan said the Chota Lahor police arrested six people and registered an FIR against 2,500 protesters.
Also in the day, people in Razaar tehsil demonstrated against unscheduled loadshedding.
Shouting slogans against Pesco staff and demanding end to unscheduled loadshedding, the protesters staged a rally in Shewa Adda area and blocked Swabi-Mardan Road for an hour suspending traffic.
In Upper Dir, too, the people, including leaders of PTI, JI, PPP and other parties, came onto the roads in Darora after Friday prayers and blocked Dir-Peshawar Road for over two hours.
They shouted slogans against Pesco and demanded end to excessive power outages. A rally was also staged in Darora Bazaar.
Also in Charsadda, people protested the prolonged loadshedding and low voltage of electricity.
The protesters from Tangi, Shaqbqadar and Charsadda tehsils blocked roads in various places.
In Tangi and Jerma areas, protesters carrying batons staged protest in front of grid station, uprooted signboards, pelted vehicles with stones, and blocked Tangi-Peshawar Road.
They later blocked Charsadda Bazaar Road at Farooq Azam Chowk by setting old tyres on fire.
The police baton-charged protesters in front of Pesco offices injuring 15 of them.
The injured were admitted to DHQ Hospital Charsadda.
The police also arrested dozens of protesters and sent to lock-up.
However, they were freed at the request of MPA Fazal Shakoor Khan, JI district chief Misbahullah, JUI district chief Maulana Mohammad Hashim and ANP leader Qasim Ali Muhammadzai.
Meanwhile, the people of Swat complained about prolonged loadshedding on the first day of Ramazan. Many of them went to the Swat River to cool themselves off by dipping. The loadshedding also caused water shortage in houses and mosques.
Local MPA Fazal Hakim warned Wapda officials should end excessive loadshedding or face agitation.
Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2015
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