Like other parts of the country, hundreds of traders, political activists and residents of Abbottabad and surrounding areas incensed by increasing power outages took to the streets on Monday to protest against Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco).
The protesters blocked the Karakoram Highway and Murree Road, suspending traffic for over eight hours.
They blocked the road with barriers and burnt logs near Supply Bazaar, Missile Chowk and Murree Road. Chanting slogans against Pesco authorities, they warned of continuing the protests until power was completely restored.
The protesters did not allow even a single vehicle to pass, due to which long traffic jams were created. Some of these vehicles, locals said, were carrying patients, elderly people and women, who were stuck in traffic while travelling to Mansehra or down south via Haripur.
“I had to attend my ailing father at a hospital in Rawalpindi, where his surgery was supposed to take place today. The local people are always the one who suffer anytime such protests take place,” said Ishtiak Khan, a resident of Mansehra.
Mubarik Ali, another passenger, criticised the government for its failure to address the power crisis. He suggested that the protesters should stage their protest outside the office of Pesco and elected representatives, rather than creating an ordeal for other local people, who are also suffering due to the situation.
Naseer Khan Jadoon, a social activist, said that the residents of Hazara had been facing the worst form of loadshedding for the past several days, ranging from five to eight hours consecutively, despite rendering numerous sacrifices for the construction of Tarbela Dam.
“Pesco has crossed all limits to hassle citizens and now it has become unbearable for us. Peoples’ lives have become miserable due to this crisis, while economic activity has come to a complete standstill. People going to mosques for prayers cannot even perform ablution due to the water shortage,” said Jadoon.
However, after negotiating with the administration, the protesters dispersed peacefully and opened the road for traffic.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2011.
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