Lahore (online) The Power shortage has climbed to record 7000-megawatt, causing prolonged load shedding in the entire country. Several cities of Punjab including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Qasur, Jehlum, Sahiwal and Sialkot are said to be worst hit and majority of people are compelled to spend sleepless nights due to surge in unannounced load shedding. LESCO officials have claimed that National Grid Centre in Islamabad is directly shutting off the Lahore Grid Stations, due to which the power shortfall of LESCO has climbed to 1300MW and 12 to 14 hours load shedding is being carried out in Lahore while 18 to 20 hours in rest of Punjab The residents of Iqbal town, Johar town, Jafar colony, Cantt, Shahdara, Kot Lakhpat and suburbs of the airport have to face lot of difficulties due to the prolong load shedding. Unscheduled load shedding has also badly disturbed the routine life of people of Rawalpindi Cantt areas, Afshan colony, Dhok Chauhdriyaan, RA Bazar, Bakra Mandi and People colony. Despite increase in supply of gas to Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) the people of Karachi are braving load shedding of 8 to 6 hours. Most of the areas of Karachi are in complete darkness at night and the people are forced to spend sleepless nights. The worst hit areas of Karachi are Gulistan -n-e Jauhar, Malir, Saudabad, New Town and Garden Town Similarly in Peshawar the load shedding is being observed 12 to 14 hours while in rural areas it has been increased to 20 hours. Business community rejects bulk increase in POL prices LAHORE (Online) - Business community has outright rejected the recent increase in the petroleum prices and demanded of the government to withdraw Rs4.15 and Rs1.51 per litre increase in petroleum and diesel prices respectively as the bulk increase is bound to affect the society including industrialists and traders. In a press statement issued here Saturday, the PIAF Chairman Sohail Lashari, Senior Vice Chairman Nadar Kamal Osman, Vice Chairman Junaid Iqbal Sheikh and Chairman of Auto Parts Manufacturers & Exporters Association Tahir Javed Malik while strongly reacting on this anti-industry and anti-masses decision, said that government did not bother to pass on the benefit of decrease of oil prices in international market and earned billion rupees, which was a sheer injustice and now this mammoth eraise in the petroleum prices. They said that there is almost no production in the industrial estates due to massive load shedding while recent increase in petroleum and diesel prices would give a big blow, only to the industry but to the agriculture sector that is backbone of the economy. They said that the industrialists, traders and common men are already annoyed due to hours of load shedding and increase in petroleum prices would add fuel to the fire. They said that government should cut down its luxurious expenditures and curtail taxes and duties on petroleum. They said that PIAF had for the last many months been calling on the concerned government circles to take measures for the promotion of alternate fuels as trade deficit was fast widening due to heavy imports under the head of petroleum products. They said that the timeline for the increase in the prices of petroleum products was also raising questions. They said that at a time when the whole industry was suffering due to energy crisis and high cost of doing business, the raise in POL prices is bound to give a further blow to the industry. They demanded of the Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to withdraw recent increase in petroleum prices immediately and also ensure representation of business community in the bodies like OGRA and NEPRA.