NOWSHERA: Hundreds of enraged protestors staged various protests across the province demanding an end to unannounced power outages and claiming they had been suffering from water shortages as well.
Officials in Nowshera said that protestors armed with sticks and small weapons attacked Nizampur Kahi Grid Station, lit fire to the furniture and destroyed the station’s records. Pesco officials were also assaulted in the attack.
Deputy Police Superintendent Khattak Samad Khan rushed to the area to negotiate, but he was pelted with stones which injured two other police officers.
Officials added that after damaging the grid station, protesters headed towards the Askari Cement Company Nizampur and broke the window panes of the factory. Security guards and watchmen fired gunshots to disperse the crowd.
Some protesters attempting to raid the warehouse of the factory were arrested by the police. FIRs have been registered against 400 people for damaging government property, while 10 people were sent on judicial remand for one day.
In another protest, residents of Ghazni Khel area of district Lakki Marwat blocked the Indus Highway for two hours.
Protestors said they would not reopen the highway unless their power supply was restored. A district police officer visited the site and negotiated with the leaders to open the route. However, protesters still warned the government and Pesco officials that if their electricity problems were not resolved they would block the highway for an infinite amount of time.
In a protest at Tordher in Swabi, a camp was set up on Jehangira-Swabi Road and the road blocked for three hours. Protesters chanted slogans against the Awami National Party and held them responsible for the power outages. They threatened the government that if their electricity problems were not solved within three days, they would not pay their power bills this month and burn them instead.
They were also outraged at the fact that the government was still sending them bills of thousands of rupees while they were consuming no electricity.
In an address in Takhtbahi, Jamaat-e-Islami Provincial Chief Muhammad Ibrahim held the provincial government responsible for electricity problems. He said that Pakistan had enough people and resources to overcome the crisis but the current government’s corruption was not letting this happen.
He added that if government does not take practical steps by July 6, “street power” would be used to start a nationwide protest in all major cities of Pakistan.