Protest against power cuts turns violent in Rawalpindi


Protests over prolonged power outages in Rawalpindi turned unruly on Friday, as police check posts were attacked and vehicles pelted with stones, injuring police and rescue officials.
Enraged protesters blocked Pir Wadhai and Peshawar roads and broke windowpanes of several vehicles. They also attacked the police check posts, smashed windows and set tyres on fire. Several public transport vehicles were also damaged as a result.
Interestingly, an overwhelming majority of the crowd consisted Afghan nationals as very few locals were visible among the protesters.
The police had to use baton-charge to disperse the protesters, who instead turned angry and damaged a traffic signal and signboards, besides ransacking property. As a result of the protest, traffic on the two busy roads remained suspended for several hours.
According to an eyewitness, the violent protesters caused a massive 4-hour traffic jam on the main road that connects Rawalpindi Cantonment with Islamabad and other northern parts of country.
The power crisis in the country has further worsened amidst scarce funding and furnace oil. Among the power plants whose generation of electricity has dropped down included Turkey, Gulf, Hubco and Kot Addu, while Faisalabad, Roosh, Reshma, Orient, Lal Pir, Japan and Sepcol are not functioning. A PEPCO spokesman said power generation stood at 13,240 MW only while the demand peaked at 18,065 MW.
Giving break-up of electricity generation, he said the hydel power production was recorded at 5,030 MW and thermal at 1,813 MW while 6,297 MW electricity being received from the IPPs.


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