Energy Crisis: Power protesters go on rampage
19 June, 2012
FAISALABAD: The power-starved citizens of the country, especially Punjab, continued their rampage against incessant outages on the second day on Monday.
The massive anti-load shedding protests in Punjab saw two killed and dozens injured. Protesters ransacked banks, shops, burned public property and announced civil disobedience and a long march towards Islamabad. Enraged rioters set ablaze an inter-city train in Gujranwala. The fire completely gutted two carriages of the train; however, no casualties were reported as there were no passengers on board.
In Lahore, citizens faced up to 18 hours of blackouts, which also caused a shortage of water. Every main artery in the city was blocked by protesters, who burnt tyres, damaged buildings and destroyed several private vehicles. On the other hand, cities like Jhang, Toba Tek Singh and Chiniot were supplied power for only three hours.
In Faisalabad, demonstrators took out the biggest protest so far, blocking Samundri Road. The protesters attacked three banks and a CNG station and indulged in looting and forced closure of shopping centres on Jaranwala Road. They pelted stones at policemen who resorted to tear gas shelling.
The angry protesters, most of whom were power loom workers, also pelted stones at passing-by vehicles, damaged public and private properties. Angry residents damaged a WAPDA office in Sargodha. According to reports, 20 people were injured during clashes between protesters and police.
In Khanewal, there were demonstrations in different parts of the city. A large umber of protesters attacked the residence of prime minister's adviser Hamid Yar Hiraj. In Zafarwal, a man was killed in the firing by guard of MNA Tariq Anis when his car came under attacks by the protesters.
In a major move, the government on Monday released Rs 8 billion to Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) to bring to end unannounced power outages in the country, sources in the Finance Ministry revealed. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called another energy conference today (Tuesday).