Markets, roads and bazaars in Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal district on Tuesday remained closed as people took to the streets in large numbers against the prolonged power load-shedding, Pakistan-based Dawn newspaper reported.
Load-shedding is the interruption of electric supply to avoid excessive load on the generating plant.
According to Dawn, the protesters blocked the main Peshawar-Bajaur road in front of Ghalanai grid station. They complained that the duration of power load shedding in rural areas was increased up to 23 hours per day during the past few months. They also alleged that the supply of electricity to several remote areas of the district was suspended.
The call for the protest was given by the ‘Electricity Action Committee’. The members of the committee include Malik Nisar Ahmed Halimzai, Malik Mohammad Ali Shinwari, Fazal Hadi, Safdar Khan, Zahid Khan, Abdul Majeed, Ayaz Khan and Salamat Shah.
People staged protests in all the major markets of Mian Mandi, Chanda, Ghalanai and Ekkaghund.
Local political leaders and tribal elders while addressing the protesters, said that Warsak and Mohmand dams were built near the district but people of the area were deprived of electricity.
They said that the Mohmand people were deprived of their constitutional and legal rights. They alleged that the natural resources of Mohmand were being usurped.
The speakers said that people provided their land for Mohmand Dam at a very low price so it was the responsibility of Wapda authorities to give royalty to locals. They said that an uninterrupted power supply to the area should be ensured, according to Dawn.
The protestors threatened to intensify their protest if their demands were not accepted. They said that they would stage a sit-in in front of grid stations.
Some of the enraged protesters tried to attack the grid station in Ghalanai but local leaders stopped them. After a 10-hour protest, the executive engineer of Wapda and Deputy Commissioner Dr Mohammad Ehtishamul Haq held talks with the protesters.
The officials assured the protestors that a committee would be formed to arrange negotiations with Tesco’s chief for controlling load-shedding.
After signing a written agreement with the officials, protesters dispersed peacefully. According to the agreement, Wapda will ensure a power supply for at least seven hours from all the feeders in Mohmand.
Asian Lite International recently reported that in the past nine years, Pakistan has faced eight major power outages and the latest major power outage on January 23 serves as a warning of the dystopian future that awaits Islamabad.
The people of Pakistan are caught in the middle, unable to understand why the country keeps failing to introduce structural reforms and if they will ever live in a country where there is not a constant threat of power breakdowns, gas outages, and water scarcity.
The Ministry of Energy confirmed that the system frequency of the national power grid “went down” at 07:00 hours on January 23 morning and caused a “widespread” breakdown in the power system across the country.
The power outage affected the entire Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, and Islamabad, reported Asian Lite International. (ANI)