Tribesmen stage a protest in Bajaur on Monday against installation of power meters. — Dawn
Tribesmen stage a protest in Bajaur on Monday against installation of power meters. — Dawn

KHAR: Political leaders and traders in Bajaur tribal district on Monday rejected the Tribal Electric Supply Company’s plans to install power meters in the region and warned that they would smash meters if they’re installed without their consultation.

The warning was issued during a demonstration staged against prolonged power outages here.

Besides traders and political leaders, the protest was also attended by leaders of religious parties and people from other walks of life.

The protesters also blocked the Khar-Mardan Highway by staging a sit-in shouting slogans against Tesco over the prolonged power outages and suspension of electric supply to several areas for several weeks.

They said their repeated requests to senior Tesco and administration officials for smooth power supply fell on deaf ears.

Protesters warn measuring devices will be smashed

The speakers, including local Jamaat-i-Islami chief Maulana Waheed Gul, ANP president Gul Afzal Khan, Khar traders association president Khan Bahadar, JUI-F leader Said Badshah and PPP president Aurangzeb, resented the prolonged power outages and said suspension of power supply to residents despite the regular payment of bills was an act of great injustice.

They flayed Tesco for disconnecting power supply to scores of areas and commercial centres ‘without mentioning valid reasons’.

The speakers said power suspension and disconnection could be part of the company’s strategy to force people into installing electricity meters.

They said the strategy was bound to fail as the residents were opposed to the ‘meterisation’ plans.

The speakers claimed that the government had promised not to install electricity meters and impose taxes in tribal districts for 10 years.

They warned that if the Tesco and administration installed power meters without their consultation, the meters would be smashed.

The speakers said the authorities should take residents on board before starting to install power meters in the region.

The protesters said the sit-in would continue until senior administration and Tesco officials didn’t show up and promise the immediate restoration of electric supply.

PTI MPA Anwar Zeb Khan also joined the protest and promised full support to participants on the issue.

The sit-in ended after a team of senior administration officials led by assistant commissioner Khar Anwarul Haq met leaders of protesters and assured them of the resumption of electric supply by Tuesday (today) afternoon.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2019