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PML-N leaders go all out to placate citizens about loadshedding — with Tweets

Updated May 18, 2017 12:57pm

With megacities suffering blackouts and crippling loadshedding, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) is focusing its energy on placating citizens irked about the power crisis through a social media campaign.

On Thursday morning, Federal Defense Minister Khawaja Asif took to Twitter to announce that the government had brought unscheduled load-shedding down to 'nil'.

Ironically, Asif in April had made an announcement that the current power crisis will see its end in the "next eight to ten days".

Asif's tweets in the last 24 hours also contained data about the country's power generation for the day. "Highest ever generation recorded at 3:00pm today 17May, 2017," read one tweet.

While some social media users welcomed the updates and information, several used the tweets as an opportunity to troll PML-N leaders, with responses ranging from appreciation to all out abuse.

Last month, the daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz posted a clip of a "live dashboard" which she said record power generation.

Earlier, she had asked her 3.2 million Twitter followers to share the status of power outages in their districts.

The tweet quickly became fodder for angry users, resulting in the hashtag 'MaryamLightChaliGai', which people used to tag Maryam in their complaints.

The online strategy comes as reports state that the prime minister is seriously concerned about how power outages will affect his election campaign in the run up to 2018.

A day before the Panama case verdict, the premier held a special meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy — second in less than 10 days ─ where he chastised senior officials for their alleged mishandling of the loadshedding issue.

The meeting was held as duration of loadshedding increased to 14-16 hours in urban areas and most of the time loadshedding was unscheduled in view of system challenges. Loadshedding in rural areas was even worse, rising to 20 hours. The situation aggravated as one of the largest load centres — Lahore — entered peak levels at 46 degrees centigrade and joined the league of Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Dera Ismail Khan.

“The discomfort caused to people should be rectified at the earliest and steps should be taken on war footing to maximise power generation,” he had said.

However, users still do not seem convinced as tweets about rampant load-shedding continue to make the rounds on twitter.