GT Road blocked for three hours

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LAHORE, April 19: Traffic between Lahore and Islamabad remained suspended for more than three hours on Thursday evening as more than 300 people protesting power outages blocked GT Road between 5pm to 8pm, burning tyres and pelting stones at the police.

Police were able to clear the road but not before an inspector and a number of protesters were injured in the clash. The protesters claimed that electricity to their area had been switched off for the last three hours.

A number of protests were reported from other parts of the city as well because of the prolonged outages as power deficit of Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) shot up to over 6,000MW, causing massive loadshedding throughout the country. Protests were also held near Railways Cairns Hospital and on The Mall in front of Wapda House by the Paigham Union.

Long queues of vehicles, including ambulances and other vehicles of emergency services, were seen stranded at both sides of the main road linking Lahore with upcountry. Police baton charged protesters and left a number of them injured. The protesters responded with stones, injuring inspector Muhammad Khan who was shifted to a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, the power shortfall of Pepco rose beyond 6,000MW, as water releases dwindled and oil supplies got squeezed because of rising circular debt.

Courtesy: Dawn

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