Pakistan: Violent protests against power shortage

Last Updated: Monday, October 3, 2011 - 20:45

Lahore: Protests against prolonged power
outages in cities across Pakistan turned violent on Monday, with
police in Punjab arresting 150 demonstrators after they
attacked public utility offices and set vehicles on fire.

The worsening power crisis not only sparked violent
protests but led to political tensions between the Punjab and
central governments.

In Lahore, Hamza Shahbaz, the son of PML-N leader and
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, led a demonstration
against power cuts that he blamed on the Pakistan People’s
Party-led government at the centre.

In Gujranwala, protesters blocked the GT Road, suspending
all traffic from Lahore to Islamabad.

They ransacked and damaged the Gujranwala Electric Supply
Company complex and set on fire scores of vehicles, including
a police car.

At least six persons, including two policemen, were hurt
in the protest. In Lahore, irate protestors set on fire a
Lahore Electric Supply Company office and official vehicles of
two police officers.

A police officer and several policemen were injured
during the violent protests. Police used teargas, fired in the
air and beat protesters with batons at several places.

In Bahawalnagar, protesters stormed a legislator’s
house.

"We arrested 125 rioters for damaging public property,"
Lahore police spokesman Niyab Haider told PTI. He said a case
had been registered against the arrested people. Another 25
protesters were arrested in Gujranwala. The countrywide
electricity deficit had reached over 8,000 MW, officials said.

Power outages of between 14 and 20 hours have been
reported across Pakistan?s most populous province of Punjab,
including key cities like Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad.

The situation is similar in Balochistan, where some
cities have been without power for up to 18 hours. In Sindh
and its capital Karachi, people were enduring power outages of
at least 10 hours. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal belt,
outages of 14 hours caused water shortage in several areas.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 3, 2011 - 20:45

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