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Power crisis sparks trouble for Pakistan government

Electicity shortage lasted for about 20 hours in major cities

Gulf News

Karachi: The government was back in the spotlight after a power cut lasted for 20 hours in cities and towns across the country on Monday.

The crisis resurfaced just a couple of days before Ramadan, something which federal minister for information, Pervaiz Rasheed, last week told reporters would not happen, especially during dawn, dusk and special Taraweeh prayers.

The shortage left areas including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Gujranwala and Sialkot without power.

Rasheed said that the government had released major funds to pay off the circular debt that was considered to be the prime cause of the country’s ongoing power crisis.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet had recently approved payment of over Rs500 billion to the oil, gas and power companies that were facing a severe liquidity crunch because of their stuck up dues among each other.

Premier Sharif, who was on a five-day visit to China, stressed the need for investment to help the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Pakistan’s state-run news agency said the prime minister called upon the president of China Investment Corporation to help Pakistan transform its oil-fired power stations into coal-fired units so that the country could produce cheaper electricity.

The country faces a power shortage of more than 5,800 megawatt. The power generation capacity is at 12,000 megawatts compared to the demand of 17,800 MW.