Power outages till recently were causing discomfort to public life while severely damaging the national economy. They crippled a large number of industrial units as well. But now they have become much worse. Around a dozen people protesting against unscheduled loadshedding have been killed during the past few days. In Khanewal on Monday, guards of special adviser of former Prime Minister Gilani, Ahmad Yar Hiraj shot dead three protestors and injured nine others. In a similar incident in Kamalia on Tuesday, Riaz Fatiyana’s gunmen reportedly opened fire on a mob that had besieged his house. Three persons lost their lives. Deadly demonstrations have been on the rise particularly across Punjab because it is worst hit by the menace. Every now and then, the federal government has been making promises to bring an end to the outages but very little has been done. Though circular debt was often thought to be the main hurdle, the federal setup did not pay the dues sufficient enough to bring it down.

Likewise energy conferences were organised with promises and commitments that turned out to be hot air. Yesterday, the outgoing Prime Minister chaired another emergency conference and decided to release Rs 8 billion in order to ease the circular debt. What is required is to work out short and long-term projects. All options must be considered. The onus is now on both the federal and the Punjab government.