Protest: Locals demand end to prolonged power cuts in Swat

The protesters criticised the government and WAPDA for inaction.


Fazal Khaliq January 25, 2013
Residents hold placards to draw attention of concerned authorities during their protest against power cuts in Swat on Thursday. PHOTO: ONLINE

SWAT:


Traders held a protest on Thursday over the ongoing energy crisis, which according to them has disrupted their financial and social fabric in Swat. The protesters at the Swat Traders Federation were later joined by people from all walks of life.


“This is unjust, we are faced with 18-hour power cuts daily. Are we not citizens of this country? Our businesses have plummeted, leaving us to starve,” Riaz Hussain, an angry protester, told The Express Tribune.

The protesters raised slogans against the government, crticising both the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Awami National Party for making “hollow promises”.

“Contrary to their slogans of ensuring basic rights, it is these very things they (the political parties) have deprived us of. It’s a failing on their part that they have given nothing but miseries to the public,” Sajjad Khan, a student, said.



The protesters also accused the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) of discriminating against the Swat locals. They asked the authority to address the problem immediately, before they are forced to take drastic steps.

Abdur Rahim Khan, president of the traders federation dubbed the prolonged and unscheduled power cuts a “conspiracy against the Swat people” which, he said, will not be tolerated.

Power cuts of up to 18 and 20 hours persist in the urban and rural parts of the area respectively.

“We get electricity for 30 minutes after every four hours. I am sure the situation is not so bad elsewhere in the country,” said a protester, demanding that their elected representatives find a viable solution to their problems.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2013.

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