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Protests against power outages enter second day.

Islamabad Pakistan's key province of Punjab, home to 60 per cent of the country's 180 million people, witnessed public protests against power outages for a second day yesterday.

People held demonstrations in the provincial capital Lahore and other places in the province, including the industrial city of Faislabad where factories were on a standstill to protest the daily power cuts.

On Monday, one person was reportedly killed and another seriously injured in Lahore when security guards at a filling station opened fire to scare away protesters who allegedly tried to set fire to the facility. In Faisalabad, industrial workers and residents rallied on the call of trade and labour unions.

Punjab is governed by the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party, which is backing the public protests, and holding the federal ruling coalition headed by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) responsible for the energy crisis.

Enormous hardship

The acute power shortages have haunted the PPP government, now in the fifth and last year of its five-year term, eroding its political standing and causing hardships to people while hurting industrial production.

The gap between power production and demand is currently estimated at several thousand megawatts.

According to officials of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), urban areas in the country saw about 16 hours of loadshedding, with each outage lasting four to five hours. The rural areas saw a loadshedding of about 20 hours.

-- with inputs from IANS

Punjab

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Mar 28, 2012
Words:254
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