Monday, May 25, 2009

Riots erupt in Karachi over power outages

* Violent protesters burn two KESC vehicles and a complaint office

KARACHI: Riots erupted in parts of Karachi after prolonged power outages late on Saturday and continued into Sunday.

Angered citizens of the city torched at least four vehicles including two belonging to the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) while also setting a KESC office ablaze, after a prolonged load-shedding spell in Federal B Area, Ayesha Manzil, Jauharabad, Dastagir area, Yasinabad, and Orangi Town.

The protesters chanted slogans, burnt tyres, pelted stones and blocked several roads. The protests began late on Saturday. Heavy contingents of law-enforcement personnel reached the scene but were unable to control the situation. They fired gunshots in the air and teargassed the mob, which set two KESC vehicles and a truck ablaze in Ayesha Manzil Chowrangi.

On Sunday, residents of Federal B Area a KESC complaint office ablaze in the Jauharabad area while residents of Orangi Town torched a Suzuki pick-up in Ali Garh Society.

KESC officials told a private TV channel that the power utility was facing a demand for 2,400 megawatts of power and had a shortage of 257 megawatts. Other independent sources told the channel the shortfall was more than 400 megawatts.

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