Friday, May 11, 2012

Energy Crisis: Power protesters go on rampage

Pakistan News Service
May 11, 2012

LAHORE: Extremely irked by the prolonged and unscheduled load shedding, people across Punjab were compelled to take to the streets on Thursday in simmering anger against the apathetic rulers.
The power shortfall has crossed 7,000MW and the government is resorting to more than 20 hours of power outage in rural, and more than 18 hours in urban areas of Punjab. Thousands of protesters took out rallies, staged sit-ins, ransacked offices and residences of lawmakers and politicians, attacked WAPDA installations, damaged vehicles and clashed with police, resulting in several injuries in different parts of the province.
Protest demonstrations against unannounced load shedding were held in all major cities of Punjab, including Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan, Vehari, DG Khan, Bahawalpur, Mianwali, Mandi Bahauddin, Sargodha, Khushab, Bhakkar, Pir Mahal, Burewala and Jhelum. In Lahore, protesters burnt tyres and blocked traffic on several roads. Protesters took out rallies in Faisalabad, chanting slogans against the government and stopping businesses from operating. A large number of industrial workers also joined the protests and blocked traffic by burning tyres on the roads. The protesters said the power shutdown in different areas had made it impossible for them to earn their livelihoods.
A complete shutter-down strike was observed in Vihari, and people went on rampage during protest rallies against power outages. The angry protesters damaged public property and a WAPDA office. They broke open the main gate and walls of the WAPDA office, broke windowpanes and doors, and set on fire the office record and equipment. They also set fire to cars, motorcycles and bicycles parked in the office.
The furious protesters also attacked the offices and residences of lawmakers and politicians. They attacked the office of PML-N MNA Tehmina Daultana and broke windows and doors, and set them on fire. They also attacked the offices of PML-Q MPA Tahir Iqbal Chaudhry and PTI District President Tahir Anwar Wahla and set them on fire. The angry mob also pelted stones and damaged Rescue 15 office.
The protesters, including members of the Vehari District Bar, forced their entry into the DCO Complex and MEPCO Complex and clashed with police. Police resorted to baton charge and tear gas-shelling. The clash and crossfire between police and protesters resulted in injuries to five protesters, two cops and a journalist.

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