One dead as protests against loadshedding turn violent in KP

Published May 29, 2017
Protests against loadshedding in Peshawar.─DawnNews
Protests against loadshedding in Peshawar.─DawnNews

At least one person has been killed and six others injured as protests against prolonged power outages turned violent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Malakand district on Monday.

Clashes between the protesters and law enforcement agencies left one person dead after enraged protesters tried to burn down a Wapda power station.

Deputy Commissioner Malakand Zafar Ali Shah said hundreds of protesters burned and rampaged through government offices and police checkpoints, snatching valuables and police weapons.

He said they tried to burn a main power station in the town of Dargai in Malakand district.

Peshawar demonstration

Meanwhile, a mob led by a member of provincial assembly (MPA) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) leader Fazal Ilahi blocked Ring Road in Peshawar as they protested excessive loadshedding in the province.

Moving away from the busy street, Ilahi took the procession towards Wapda House in a bid to enter the premises. However, a heavy police contingent arrived at the scene and guarded the gate of the power distribution company's office.

Ransacked Wapda House office in Malakand.─DawnNews
Ransacked Wapda House office in Malakand.─DawnNews

Ilahi later claimed that he had been called to Wapda House for negotiations, but was not being allowed in by the police, who he claims were manhandling his supporters.

The new protests come days after some PTI members were arrested for ransacking the Pesco office in Batkhela amid protests against the frequent power outages.

Loadshedding marks testing start to Ramazan

On the first day of Ramazan on Sunday, people of various towns and cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sustained prolonged power outages and low voltage, particularly at Sehar and Iftar.

Instead of buying foodstuffs for Iftar or Sehri, people can be seen arguing with traders on the prices of solar panels, fans and air-coolers. “We have no option but to rely on solar powered appliances as excessive electricity outages have made our lives miserable,” said a resident of Lakki Marwat who had come to the market to buy an air-cooler.

Similar scenes were seen in Karachi on the first day of the holy month when a mjor part of Karachi, along with almost half of Sindh plunged into darkness in the small hours of Sunday before the first sehri of Ramazan.

In some of the affected areas in Karachi and Badin, enraged people took to the streets in protest over the failure of the power utilities in maintaining uninterrupted power supply.

The sudden and prolonged electricity breakdown caused an acute water shortage in Karachi as major pumping stations of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board also went without power.

Almost 70 per cent of Karachi was affected by the breakdown. The restoration of electricity began after around three hours and at 12.55pm, K-Electric claimed in a Twitter posting that “Karachi has now been fully normalised after the power interruption caused by tripping in the Extra High Tension Jamshoro 500kV line”.

Clashes with law enforcement agencies during protests in Pakistan often prove to be fatal as scores of people have been killed in the past during demonstrations.

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