Is the Pakistan federal govt punishing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with planned power outrages?  KP CM says so

Ali Amin Gandapur, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the northernmost province of Pakistan, has accused the country’s federal government of punishing the people in KP as a “revenge” by continuing electricity load shedding in the region.

In a video statement released on Tuesday (June 18), the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is called the centre of insurgency in Pakistan, alleged that the Pak federal government had further reduced the province’s share of electricity supply.

Complaints are being received regarding the loadshedding schedule violations in the province, the KP CM said, adding that the local workers of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) have been cooperating as per their capacity, while the provincial authorities were “fully cooperating” with the authority on the matter of line losses.

The CM further said that the provincial government will soon have another meeting with the federal government on the load shedding issue.

Warning his political rival PML-N-led government in the Centre to fix its behaviour with the KP government, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader said that people would come out on the streets if the federal government did not do so.

Recently, angry residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa staged demonstrations across several cities of the province, including its capital Peshawar, to protest against unannounced 20-hour-long electricity load shedding even during Eid-al-Adha, local media reports said.

Protesters said the worst load shedding occurred on the first and second days of Eid.

Last month, residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Landi Kotal town, after experiencing several days of electricity shortage amid severe heatwave, stormed the local grid station when authorities failed to provide six hours of electric supply as promised earlier, according to a report by the Dawn, Pakistan’s leading daily.

Not only general people, prisoners in the overcrowded Bara sub-jail in Peshawar also raised voices about the suffocating conditions caused by excessive load shedding, reports the Dawn.

Criticising the Pak federal government, PTI leader and former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser said that KP had been undergoing “worst” electricity load shedding for the last several days, especially during the Eid-ul-Adha.

Mentioning that his party would protest on the National Assembly floor and highlight the matter during the budget speech, Qaiser said they will not accept load shedding and high priced electricity.

According to a report by Pakistan’s The News International, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa MP Fazal Elahi and his supporters once again entered the Rehman Baba Grid Station in Peshawar and restored the power supply to 10 feeders as power outages continued even on the occasion of Eid ul Adha.

The MP told Geo News that he would stay at the grid station and won’t allow electric supply suspension again.

KP MP Fazal had earlier restored the power supply from grid stations in his constituency on six different occasions since his election as the member of KP assembly, as per reports.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which borders Afghanistan, has been the centre of Pakistan’s domestic insurgencies.

The insurgency in Pakistan’s northernmost province, also known as the War in North-West Pakistan or Pakistan’s war on terror, is an ongoing armed conflict involving Pakistan and Islamist militant groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jundallah, Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI), TNSM, al-Qaeda, and their Central Asian allies such as the ISIL–Khorasan (ISIL), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, East Turkistan Movement, Emirate of Caucasus, and elements of organized crime. 

Formerly a war, it is now a low-level insurgency as of 2017, as per data.

Amid the South Asian country’s ongoing efforts to fencing 2,600 km long Pakistan-Afghanistan border in order to capitalize on gains that it has made against the insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan has been confronting with renewed threat of terrorism since the fall of Kabul in August 2021 as TTP has been injected with fresh dose of strength due to the victory of Taliban in Afghanistan. 

According to reports, the fresh recruits, easy access to US made weapons, and a sanctuary under the shadow of Afghan Taliban have once again bolstered the TTP to again target Pakistan, and as a result, the country suffered 13 suicide attacks by the end of 2022.

After negotiations in 2022, the TTP and the government announced a ceasefire in June 2022. 

However, the TTP, in November 2022, renounced the ceasefire and called for nationwide attacks against Pakistan.

Pakistan’s National Security Committee under leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on April 7, 2023 decided to launch a new military operation to root out insurgency posing threats to its western regions.

Local media reported, citing allegations raised by the oppositions, that the Pakistani government in the Centre has been punishing the people of KP, which is populated by a large variety of tribes, sub-tribes, and clans, with an aim to take revenge against the insurgency-hit province, still being ruled by opposition PTI.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, Khyber is one of seven districts previously known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a region on the border with Afghanistan that was governed under the Frontier Crimes Regulation and not Pakistani laws from 1947 till 2018.

The country’s national law-enforcement agencies were not able to operate in the region as Pakistani laws did not apply in FATA, and violence and armed groups were able to thrive for years.

In 2018, Pak federal government merged the tribal areas of FATA with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to gain control over the tribal populated region.


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