In light of continuing protests against constant load-shedding, the ruling Awami National Party (ANP) has decided to convene an all parties conference on August 9.
The aim of the conference is to find a tangible solution to the growing power outages across the province.
The ANP began tugging on public sentiments, saying that the excess electricity cuts had brought misery to people’s everyday lives. They demanded that the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) as an entity should be shut down.
On Monday, ANP leadership rushed to address a press conference to try and sympathise with the public.
ANP provincial president, Senator Afrasiab Khattak, said: “Wapda has completely failed and is unable to run a system like this.”
“Power outages are managed from Islamabad which is an illogical decision and this centralisation has created huge issues,” Khattak said. “Power companies in every province know the needs of their respective areas better.”
There are many power production units in the province, including the Tarbela dam with a production capacity of 3478MW, the Warsak dam with 240MW, the Khanpur power project with 72MW and the Malakand-III power project with 81MW.
Khattak said the province produced more power than it needed, yet it has been subjected to 18-20 hours of power outages daily. He said that this was completely unjustified.
“Water for the Ghazi-Barotha Hydropower Project runs through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and we have no right to the power even though it is produced in Punjab,” he added.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, ANP senior provincial minister Bashir Bilour and ANP general secretary Arbab Tahir were also present amongst other ANP senior leaders.
“ANP is going to convene a provincial all parties conference on August 9,” Khattak said, “All political parties are invited to come together and leave behind personal rivalries to take an unanimous stand against load-shedding.”
The K-P assembly meeting is to be convened in the next few days as well to work on a one-point agenda: the power crisis.
Khattak also said that people should cooperate with the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) to pay electricity bills.
“We will continue our mission to make power provisions a provincial matter”, the senator said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2012.