Lights out in Faisalabad: Protest or civil war?

Published: April 6, 2012

The loadshedding crisis in Faisalabad which took place last week could have been expected in the wake of unprecedented quota reduction of power supply from the national grid. Over a dozen demonstrations took place in all parts of the city. Even stakeholders took the opportunity to participate in a protest that was initially launched four days ago by powerloom workers and owners.

The issue of loadshedding seems to be heading towards political turmoil in the country. The Faisalabad protest took a more serious turn when Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, sensing the volatile emotions of the business community, reassured them thus:

If you decide to stage a long march against loadshedding, I assure you that all members of the national and provincial assemblies, PML-N workers and ticket holders will join hands with you and I would also love to lead the long march.

Shahbaz Sharif also said that Punjab was treated in a negligent manner and that all industry, trade and export activities had been plunged into crises by the federal government with an agenda to ruin Punjab’s economy as well as the agricultural sector.

All trade bodies had jointly announced a complete shutdown in Faisalabad and closed off over 6,000 industrial units including spinning, garments, textile, and looms. The president of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) Muzammil Sultan, told The Express Tribune that the FCCI had taken all stakeholders on board and it was a unanimous decision to give up all manufacturing activities for the week.

The only solution for improvement in the power crisis is to arrange for dues to Pakistan State Oil and the Independent Power Projects on a priority basis. Political pundits are of the view that this crisis may lead to a civil war-like situation. The federal government must realise the gravity of the problem and do the needful before things spiral out of control.

Read more by Shamsul Islam here.


Shamsul Islam Naz

The author works as a correspondent for The Express Tribune and is based in Faisalabad.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Afzal Zafar

    Faisalabad,lahore,gujranwala and other cities of punjab have been deliberately targetted by the federal govt. to deprive of electricity and gas.Punjab’s gas supply was mostly cut off during all winter while other provinces continued to enjoy gas supplies with just one day a week closure of CNG,whereas the kitchen stoves in punjab could not function.
    Even now,electricity loadshedding is being done the most in punjab.Why this racist economic murder of punjab?Recommend

  • Haris Saeed

    The ppp govt. and its allies have been purposely depriving punjab’s industries of electricity and gas supplies for the last 4 years.Many of the factory owners have shifted their business abroad or to karachi where there is no gas or electricity shortages for the factories.
    PPP’s leadershipt is always taunting ”Takht-e-lahore” in their jalsas and speeches,so was this their way of slowly killing off punjab over the last four years?Recommend

  • Saad Ibrahim

    @Afzal Zafar:

    Racism has been behind the intentional targetting of punjab by the pppl led govt. The current regime and its allies have done all they could over the last several years to destroy the industry of punjab.One province having one day closure for CNG while the other having 5 days off in the winter reeks of financial strangulation of one province.
    The ppp has show its true face this time around,this isn’t the ppp of Benazir who worked for the federation,who believed in being ‘chaaro soobo ki zajeer’. The present day ppp has proven itself to be only an ethnic party bent upon the financial murder of other provinces.Recommend

  • Rashid Mir

    The reason why punjab is not getting electricity is abundantly clear from zardari’s speech today.
    He proudly exclaimed that we know how to twist the necks of punjabis.This sheer racism and bigotry exposes the main reason behind the deliberate gas and electricity loadshedding in punjab.
    If Nawaz sharif had said something like this for anyone from sindh,balochistan or KPK,the entire newsmedia,twitterati and bloggers would have been abusing and insulting punjabis.But since expressions of racist hate and ill-will towards punjabis are acceptable behaviour in pakistani media,everyone remained completely silent over this.Recommend

  • gujranwala789

    Anyone in punjab who gives vote to PPP is a traitor and should be dealt so.Recommend

  • TM

    The energy crisis in not our issue but this issue crippled the world economies,we have to blame the policy makers who always took care of their vested interest and didnot frame the policies based on our future needs they always made short term planning.during the past regime when we got involved in luxury life style,we forgot that we have no infrastructure to cope with the demand of this new world. Forget,the whole country,talk about only Fasailabad only,look back in last decade we doubled our consumption in all kind of power,electric,gas,oil and others. This issue is the same as others,look around Clock. Tower business area ou have no parking,what did,nothing………..pollution, has become our national motto to blame others for all the problems of the society…..govt is corrupt,govt.officials are corrupt but think,if they were not corrupt,we don’t have these American franchises in our country….you know,it is easy come easy go.we feel proud when our brother ,cousin or any relative take us to these places and pay thousands of rupee for just dinner,lunch did we ever question how he made that kind of money,never.My friend,we cannot the society untill we change ourself.I know it is tough but we have to do it otherwise stop crying.Recommend

  • mrk

    Well it’s not a matter of provinces or what – it’s simple politicking from an evil mind. Depriving Northern Punjab does not harm the PPP because they are not going to get that vote anyways. So this is a good tamasha for the biggest tamasha-baaz in the country.

    Do you really think any of those sindhis in the top slot are going to go to Sindh after losing the next elections? No. They’ll go to where they came from in 2008 but several billion dollar richer.

    Long live the brains of the people of Pakistan!!Recommend

  • AhmedMaqsood

    The reason why Faisalabad is suffering so badly is because a lot of the factories were stealing gas and electricity (hence the competitive advantage in manufacturing versus the rest of the country). Until they start paying their bills, they don’t deserve any sympathy. This goes for all the manufacturers in Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot and Gujranwala as well – stop stealing electricity and gas and start paying for it!!!!Recommend