Violent protests triggered by frequent, long-hour power outages continued unabated in different towns and cities of Punjab on Monday – a day when irate consumers also set alight a passenger train in Gujranwala district.
Incensed by long spells of unannounced load-shedding in the scorching summer, thousands of people gathered in Kamonki tehsil of Gujranwala district. They burnt tyres on GT Road, suspending vehicular traffic for over six hours.
However, when the authorities did not take notice of the roadblock, some of the protesters moved towards the nearby Kamonki railway station where the local ‘Bau Train’ had just chugged in en route to Sialkot from Lahore. The protesters stoned the carriages, forcing passengers to flee. The protesters then looted five passenger bogies and one goods compartment and set them on fire one by one, according to witnesses.
The carriages burnt for five hours – while railway authorities managed to rescue the locomotive, witnesses said. Police did not dare to challenge the angry protesters and stayed away. Authorities said that railway traffic between Peshawar and Karachi would remain suspended unless the gutted bogies were removed from the track.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2012.