SIALKOT/GUJRANWALA-The electricity loadshedding of up to 20 hours continued in the native district of the federal power minister even on the first day of Muharram amidst tall claims of uninterrupted power supply being made by the district coordination officer (DCO).

The people said that Gepco had failed to provide electricity during congregations of Muharram in Sialkot, the native district of Federal Minister for Defence, Water and Power Khawaja Asif.

There was no let-up in the miseries of the people particularly during the last five days as they have been spending sleepless nights in such muggy weather due to unbearable loadshedding. They said that instead of giving relief to the consumers, Gepco has stepped up the duration of loadshedding in Sialkot region.

They said that Gepco was not showing mercy for the perturbed consumers, urging Ch Abid Sher Ali, the state minister for water and power, to take serious note of the inhuman practice. When contacted, Gepco officials remained unable to give satisfactory answer in his regard.

On the other side, district officers said that the administration and police have started implementation of a security plan to ensure peace, harmony and law and order in Sialkot district.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Asif Tufail stated this while addressing a press conference at his office. DPO Abid Khan, ADCG Umer Sher Chatta and others were also present.

The DCO added that the security has been further tightened at all 2,193 religious places and 270 seminaries. The police will protect 331 processions and 1,257 Majaalis to be held in Sialkot district from 1st to 15th of Muharram. He added that 50 CCTV cameras have been affixed on the routes of the Muharram processions and asked the organisers of the processions to ensure video recordings of all the processions to be taken out in Sialkot district.

The DCO said that the drone camera coverage would be ensured during Muharram processions. He said five spots have been declared as the trouble spots in Sialkot district.

He said that the entry of 20 Ulema has been banned in Sialkot district while speeches of 14 others during the month of Muharram. He said that Gepco has ensured the uninterrupted provision of electricity during Majaalis and processions, however, the 22 generators have been kept stand by.

He added that the Pak Army would be present there to help the administration, if needed, to maintain peace and law and order during Muharram. As many as 148 doctors with seven ambulances of Rescue 1122 and 17 other ambulances of different NGOs have also been deputed on emergency services along the Muharram processions routes in Sialkot district.

He said that effective measures have been taken to ensure foolproof security during Muharram. The DPO said that all the Muharram routes’ areas would be sealed for security purposes in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils.

Likewise, dozens of residents of Talwandi Musa Khan staged a demonstration in front of Gepco headquarters against SDO. The protesters holding banners against the officer alleged that SDO office staff issued inflated bills and when the citizens visit them for correction, they he used harsh language with them. The protesters chanted slogans against the SDO and demanded that he may be transferred immediately. After getting assurance of an early action in this regard, the protesters dispersed peacefully.