SIALKOT/SHEIKHUPURA - Hundreds of perturbed students, industrialists, traders and common public took out rallies here separately against the unbearably prolonged and crippling loadshedding of electricity.

In the export-oriented city, traders took out a rally on main city roads to lodge their strong protest against the loadshedding of electricity. The rally began from Allama Iqbal Chowk and ended at the same point after passing through all the main city roads. Markazi Anjuman Tajraan Sialkot President Mehar Ghulam Mujtaba and Secretary General Ehsanul Haq Butt led the rally. The participants were holding banners and placards and chanting slogans against the uncontrolled loadshedding.

Later, the protesters also staged a sit-in outside the Gepco office in Shahabpura Sialkot for one hour, keeping the traffic blocked on several main and link roads. Talking to the media, President of the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Abdul Majid, said that there was 35 percent decline in Sialkot’s total exports due to daily 20 to 22 hours power outages.

He said that there was a big halt in industrial production in Sialkot factories due to which the total production of export consignments had totally stopped. The Sialkot exporters were unable to ensure timely dispatch of their export consignments to the foreign destinations because of unending power outages. He said that the foreign buyers were cancelling their export orders of millions of dollars already placed to the exporters and the buyers were diverting these orders to India, Taiwan and China , in this regard.

He said that the thousands of the daily wagers were being rendered jobless from factories due to the situation.

In Sheikhupura, more than 14-hour loadshedding in urban areas and 18-hour in rural areas was being carried out, maing the citizens’ lives miserable.

A group of farmers, traders and students held a demonstration in front of the Sheikhupura Press Club. Farmers’ leader Khushi Muhammad Jatt said their tube wells remained closed owing to load-shedding while the canal water was also not available due to massive water theft in the district so they were not able to cultivate their fields.

He said the farmers who depend only on agriculture were facing starvation. They demanded remarkable decrease in loadshedding hours so they could be able to cultivate their fields timely. On the occasion, the traders said they were facing a lot of difficulties to keep their business running amidst 18-hour loadshedding. They said customers visit their shops in the evening while the loadshedding force them to close their business before the sun-set because they are unable to run generator due to high fuel price. The situation is causing big loss to them, the protesting traders said.

A large number of students also took part in the protest and remained present in front of the Press Club, chanting slogans against the Wapda authorities. They held the authorities responsible for the prolonged loadshedding.