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Loadshedding drives Peshawarites to the streets again

June 03, 2012

PESHAWAR/MANSEHRA, June 2: People of the provincial capital on Saturday took out rallies and blocked roads for the second consecutive day against prolonged power suspension.

Scores of people from Palosai, Tehkal, Regi, Peshtakhara and Sufaid Dheri areas converged on Saddar Bazaar before marching on Sher Shah Suri Road via FC Chowk and staging a rally outside the Peshawar Press Club.

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf leaders Khawaja Mohammad Khan Hoti, Mehrab Gul and Yaseen Khalil led the rally, which disrupted vehicular traffic for around an hour.

Holding banners and placards inscribed with anti-loadshedding slogans, protesters shouted slogans against the government over the worsening energy crisis.

Mr Hoti came down hard on the government for stressing out people by the excessive power and gas loadshedding and said PTI would go for agitation in case smooth electric supply to people wasn’t restored.

He alleged that the rulers were busy looting taxpayers’ money and thus, ignoring people’s socioeconomic problems.

“If they (rulers) can’t provide basic rights to people, they have no right to stay in power and should step down without delay for the holding of fresh elections,” he said, adding that power and gas outages had made the people’s life miserable.

The PTI leader alleged that the ruling Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party had been distributing Watan Cards among their workers rather than poor and deserving people.

“I was made the federal education minister in this government but I preferred quitting the cabinet and even the National Assembly due to the rulers’ massive corruption and decided to fight corrupt practices,” he said.

Mr Hoti said only PTI chief Imran could bring about a real change to steer the country out of the current socioeconomic and security crises. “The only way to bring the country out of the current quagmire is to join hands with Imran Khan,” he said.

The PTI leader claimed that in the next elections, the people would hold corrupt rulers accountable and reject them forever as they had failed to come up to the poor people’s expectations.

He said if the government failed to overcome gas and power loadshedding, then PTI workers and leaders along with commoners would stage sit-ins outside the houses of the provincial governor and chief minister.

“The people will drag them (rulers) through the streets,” he said.

Also in the day, villagers living along Charsadda Road and Kohat Road demonstrated against the excessive loadshedding. They said electric supply remained suspended from 15 to 20 hours a day and thus, leaving them without water.

In Mansehra, the Civil Society Alliance, a grouping of traders, lawyers, transporters, and people from other walks of life, on Saturday announced to lay a siege to local power grid station from Monday against the prolonged loadshedding lasting 16 hours a day.

“Excessive power outages have forced us into coming onto the streets and besieging grid station. There will be complete shutter down strike, while rallies and demonstrations will be taken out against Pesco,” former Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl senator Syed Hidayatullah Shah told a news conference here on Saturday.

Last year, the alliance got toll tax in Mansehra suspended by agitation.

Representatives of transporters, traders and lawyers attended the news conference.

They said despite repeated warnings, the Peshawar Electricity Supply Company paid no heed to people’s misery caused by excessive loadshedding, which lasted more than 18 hours a day.