MIRPUR (AJK)

Thousands of people from all walks of life here took to streets to stage protest against “what they called” ‘forced and unscheduled’ power loadshedding in this city of the country’s largest - reservoir - Mangla Dam.

Led by duty magistrates including SDM Ch Amjad Iqbal, heavy police contingents remained alert to deal with any eventuality. The demonstration remained peaceful as the protesters dispersed peacefully.

On the occasion, the protesters announced massive district-wide protests and shutdown against prolonged power outage - besides to press the Wapda and the AJK government for early exemption of Mirpur from the electricity loadshedding in acknowledgement of great service of this district of accommodating a major reservoir - the Mangla dam on its soil.

The call for the protest against the prolonged power outages in Mirpur city and rest of the district was given by District Bar Association President Ch Khalid Rasheed with the coordination of various public representative organisations including the AJKCCI, all factions of Central Traders Organizations and the city elite.

At the first leg of the protest against frequent unscheduled power outage, the organizers held a wheel-jam and shutdown strike for over four hours. Shopkeepers in various parts of the city pulled down their shutters while traffic stayed off roads during protest held at central Shaheed Chowk.

Led by DBA President Ch Khalid Rasheed, Gen Secretary Shabeer Sharif and presidents of all the three respective factions of Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran including Ch Javed Iqbal, Sohail Shujah Mujahid and Ch Muhammad Naeem, eminent business community leader Chaudhry Mehmood, Secretary generals - Raja Khalid Mahmood and Ch Shoukat Ali, Ghazi Tanveer, Muhammad Nawaz Rattayal, journalist Arshad Mehmood Butt besides representatives of various social, political and journalists organizations took out processions from various parts the city to register their protest against the unscheduled loadshedding of electricity in Mirpur and rest of the district.

All the processions emerged from various localities converged into a major rally at Shaheed Chowk.

Earlier the masses passed through main city streets including Mian Muhammad Road, Allama Iqbal Road and Central Shaheed Chowk chanting full-throat slogans against the Wapda and local power-distribution Electricity Department for failure to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to the masses.

Speakers demanded immediate exemption of the city from power loadshedding for what they called being host to the country’s largest Mangla dam. They accused the Wapda of treating Mirpur population with step-motherly attitude without taking even a slight care of the supreme sacrifices given twice by the Mirpur population for the construction and later recent raising of the Mangla dam in the larger interest of Pakistan.

The protesters also raised slogans against the acute shortage of drinking water in the city following the unscheduled loadshedding.