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Friday, May 26, 2023

Karachiites protest against prolonged load-shedding

Police use tear gas and baton-charges protesters who take to the streets over prolonged load-shedding.

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The Karachi police on Tuesday used tear gas and baton-charged demonstrators who took to the streets of Lyari near the Mauripur road against prolonged and unannounced load-shedding by K-Electric, Dawn reported.

Reportedly, the residents have been protesting since last night. They burnt tyres and blocked a road linking the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and SITE industrial areas.

According to Dawn, the police at 11 am baton-charged the protesters after they refused to vacate the main road.

Read more: NEPRA approved another increase in electricity price

Footage showed police commandos firing tear gas at the demonstrators who were chanting slogans against the power utility management and demanding supply restoration.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Asif Bughio told Dawn that “the residents dispersed for a while after the police action but resumed the protest shortly after.”

The officer said, “electricity in several areas of Lyari, particularly the one adjacent to Mauripur road, has been suspended since 4pm yesterday.”

“Due to prolonged disruption in the power supply, hundreds of residents blocked the road for hours,” he said, adding that the police tried to negotiate with them, but they attacked the law enforcers with stones.

Bughio said they have reached out to the KE management to “placate” the protesters and prevent the situation from escalating. He added that their priority was to resolve the issue through talks.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the traffic police said that the protest had created an immense traffic load near the Jinnah Bridge and MT Khan Road.

PTI leaders criticised the police action, with former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry chiding the PPP-led Sindh government that “they are your own people.”

Separately, protests against water shortages were also reported from other parts of the metropolis early on Tuesday morning. According to traffic police, the residents of Liaquatabad’s Dak Khana, Shah Faisal Colony 2, and Kala Pul took to the streets.

In the wee hours of the day, a large number of Lines Areas residents also came out on main Sharea Faisal and blocked the key road near Gora Qabristan.

They blamed the KE for keeping their supply off for 13 hours and raised slogans against the power utility management, demanding restoration of their supply. The protest caused a traffic jam on one track of the arterial Sharea Faisal.

According to reports, people across the country were facing 12 to 14 hours of power outages in scorching weather.

Read more: Citizens report 14 hours loadshedding after new govt

However, during a meeting with National Assembly members on Monday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the country might face increased load-shedding in July.

Meanwhile, Aslam Pakhali, chairman of the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), said that over 100 shipping containers carrying mangoes and potatoes worth an estimated Rs250 million have been stuck in traffic since Monday evening.

He urged the Sindh government to immediately complete negotiations with the protesters, warning that delays would lead to enormous losses for exporters.


Input from Dawn