Islamabad [Pakistan], January 24 (ANI): Pakistan's acute energy crisis has triggered protests in the country. It has become a "national issue" and will be one of the focus points of the "long march" against the Imran Khan-led government, organized from Karachi to Islamabad by the opposition parties next month, said a media report.
Pakistan has been facing an unprecedented energy crisis. The frequent and long energy shortages are creating difficulties for common households as well as hampering industrial output. This has impacted exports as well, said InsideOver in a report.
It further reported that the unprecedented power crisis, mismanagement and lack of recovery plan are nudging the country toward economic calamity. The uneven and interrupted supply of gas, electricity and petroleum products are leading to discomfort among different provincial governments and the federal government of Islamabad.
Many cities in Pakistan are witnessing protests from people over natural gas shortage and prolonged power outages. Electricity is not available for several hours across Pakistan.
InsideOver highlighted that in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the power shortage leaves people without electricity for 18 hours. And whenever there is electricity, voltage is low, which is making people difficult to draw drinking water. This has led to protests and people especially women are blocking roads to vent their anger.
In Gilgit-Baltistan too people hit the streets in the sub-zero temperatures over prolonged power shortages and black-marketing of food supplies. Gilgit-Baltistan based Awami Action Committee (AAC) called it a failure of Pakistan State to provide basic facilities to people.
Sindh government invoked a constitutional article and warned the Islamabad government of taking over the gas distribution system if locals are deprived of cooking fuel, which is mainly found in the wells in the province.
"The province which produces over 2/3 of the total natural gas in the country has been facing a situation where households are without gas to cook food, industries are shutting down because of huge shortage and low gas pressure and CNG stations are closed for months to come," Sindh Province's Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh wrote to Islamabad government, InsideOver reported.
Businesses too are getting hurt. "Exports worth USD 250 million were lost in just a month of fuel shortages which shut mills for 15 days,"said Shahid Sattar, executive director of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.
The supply shortfall is due to the energy ministry's inability to arrange supply and is hurting the very future of Pakistan's exports and economy, InsideOver reported.
In the summer of 2021, the power shortage had reached 6,000 megawatts leading to long-hour load-shedding across Pakistan.
However, in December 2021, Pakistan hiked the power tariffs by an additional Rs 4.74 per unit to earn additional revenue. Subsequently, the Khan government increased petroleum prices too.
Major opposition party Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) called it "Economic murder". Now radical outfit Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) too is joining the protests on the streets. (ANI)