The Shangla Qaumi Jirga has once again threatened to block the Karakoram Highway in protest against long hours of load-shedding during Ramazan.
The jirga warned they would block the highway for an indefinite period and the government and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) will be held responsible.
Following the jirga, members told journalists they were experiencing 20 hours of load-shedding in the district and said it was an open violation of human rights.
“The 72 megawatt Khankhwar Dam in Shangla provides Rs120 million in profit every day. But unfortunately, the people of the district remain in darkness,” claimed the jirga’s spokesperson. “Our agricultural land has become barren and hundreds of water mills and other businesses have come to a halt because of the dam.”
The people of Shangla suffer while those in Islamabad live in luxury, he said, adding, “We ask the government to stop this injustice otherwise its consequences will not be good.” The jirga demanded the government and Wapda provide their ‘promised share’ of four megawatts of electricity.
“We have staged protests for our share many times and each time the government promises to provide electricity. But those promises have not materialised,” a resident said. They claimed the government is trying to sideline them deliberately through power cuts during Ramazan.
The jirga also criticised the elected representatives and labeled them as ‘good for nothing’ for failing to resolve their electricity woes.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2013.