Loadshedding during the scorching Pakistani summer has always been a prompt for public outrage, and with Ramadan coinciding with the heat wave, patience was bound to be in short supply and tempers; flared. Yet registration of protest against the actions of the government should not take the form of a violent spree; damaging the infrastructure that provides relief – even if it is unsatisfactory – and making matters worse for oneself only to satisfy momentary anger. The violent protests that erupted in several parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after power cuts up to 20-hour long – which led to a mob setting fire to a grid station in Charsadda district, clashing with police personal and setting alight district administration offices in Swabi – could be thus partially attributed to the lack of patience in part of the public but such a statement would be incomplete and would paint an incorrect picture.

Being at fault for the never-ending power crisis is a separate issue, the present outrage lies squarely at the feet of the government, as the Water and Power, Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif himself promised on Thursday that there would be no loadshedding during Sehr, Iftar and Taraveeh. Yet on the first day of Ramadan, vast swathes of the country faced loadshedding during these times while areas like Charsadda remained in darkness for hours.

The Ministry of State for Water and Power had an explanation, with the minister Sher Ali Abid saying that 20-hoyr loadshedding had been announced for areas where over 90 per cent line losses were recorded and utility bill payment was low. While this technically bails out the government by providing a proviso, the fact remains that the confidence and the fanfare with which it was announced that loadshedding would not take place during critical timings in Ramadan stands starkly in contrast to this announcement, which was silently made in another meeting. Not only is it unclear which areas the minister is talking about, it also has lead to confusion with the majority of people being led to falsely believe that power supply will be uninterrupted. The government must make its position clear; not make a statement that generates good publicity and announce the undercutting proviso quietly and separately. This is wilfully misleading the people.