Gas shortage sparks protests

Published: December 8, 2011
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Residents of G-7 burning tyres on 7th Avenue. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID

Residents of G-7 burning tyres on 7th Avenue. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID

ISLAMABAD: 

Frustration and anger fuelled dozens of G-10/2 residents on Wednesday to gather in front of the offices of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) in I-9/2.

After being barred from entry by security guards, a short scuffle ensued resulting in the protestors blocking the nearby road and suspending traffic for over three hours. They demanded immediate restoration of gas supply to their houses.

A police official stated that the SNGPL management asked the area’s police to register a case against the protestors for the attack on its office and the associated damages, but the police refrained from taking action against the mob. “The situation could deteriorate further [if we take action],” said a police official.

The mob refused to disperse without ensuring their demands for supply of gas were met and were finally allowed to talk to SNGPL General Managed Muhammad Arshad.

“Four to five representatives were allowed to meet the GM for negotiations and dispersed after getting some assurance,” said one of the security guards at the scene.

He added that the protestors did not damage any property, besides burning tires outside the office and trying to enter the building by force from which they were stopped.

In a similar incident, residents of G-6/2 and G-7, including women and children, blocked the 7th Avenue for over an hour by burning tires. “We are without gas for over three days now. Where it is being supplied, the pressure is very low,” said G-6/2 resident Muhammad Asghar.

“We are forced to use LPG cylinders and firewood for cooking,” added one of the female protestors. The police prevented the protestors from causing any serious damage and convinced them to return to their homes after getting assurances from SNGPL officials for a quick resolution to their problems.

An SNGPL company official said, “We are not getting sufficient supply to meet people’s needs.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2011.

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