Power outages: Residents of DI Khan, Tank go on shutter-down, hunger strikes

Protests cause at least three people to faint in latter district


Zulfiqar Ali April 13, 2016
PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

DI KHAN: Strikes against power outages were observed in DI Khan and Tank on Wednesday. A shutter-down strike was held in DI Khan while a hunger strike was observed in Tank during which three people fainted.

DI Khan

Following an announcement made at an all-parties conference (APC) on Tuesday, locals led by APC and Anjuman-e-Tajran representatives protested in the regions.

Traders closed their shops 11am onwards and marched through various bazaars, gathering at Chugalla where they were addressed by speakers.

District council member Muhammad Hanif Pipa said, “A ten-day deadline was given to Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) DI Khan, but they did nothing.” He added, “Now the people have no option but to protest.”

Pipa said Wapda’s cruelty was unacceptable. “If there is more than 12 to 28 hours of load-shedding in winter, what is going to happen during summer?” he questioned.“If power outages, illegal meter readings, overbilling and tripping are not resolved, there is no guarantee tomorrow’s demonstration will be as peaceful as today’s,” Pipa said.



“Our next protest will be in front of Wapda House and the organisation will be responsible for any harm or damage done to it,” he added.

Anjuman-e-Tajran representative Raja Akhtar Ali said, “All complaints regarding outages, fines and corruption have been conveyed to Dera DC Nisar Ahmad Khan.” He accused Wapda of allowing a mafia to work within for a very long time.

Jamaat-e-Islami district ameer Advoate Zahid Mohibullah, former MPA Mazher Jamil Alizai, councillor Taimur Ali Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz DI Khan General Secretary Chawdary Riaz and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Sheikh Muhammad Akmal were among those who addressed the protesters.

Tank

In Tank city, a hunger-strike was observed against load-shedding at Infran Shaheed Park on Wednesday. The hunger strike was arranged by a local activist and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Shams Mehsud and a large number of people participated.

During the hunger strike, three people fell unconscious and were rushed to District Headquarters Hospital Tank.

Addressing the camp at the park, Mehsud said, “If anybody gets harmed during the strike, Wapda Tank will be held responsible and an FIR will be registered against [the relevant official].”

He added due to corruption in Wapda, Tank suffers from 18-hour-long outages daily. “We urge the government to end this menace,” Mehsud said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th,  2016.

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