Rawalpindi - A large number of women and children staged a protest demonstration here at Ahmedabad area yesterday against gas loadshedding.

The protesters were holding utensils in their hands. They were chanting slogans against Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. They blocked Dhamial Road for all kinds of vehicular movement, triggering a gigantic traffic jam at Bakra Mandi, Dhoke Syedan, Tahli Mohri, Chungi Number 22, Chakri Road, Hayyal Road, Lakhan and other linking roads, causing hardships for commuters and pedestrians.

According to details, the women and children belonging to Quaid-e-Azam Colony, Lakhan, Ghaziabad, Ahmedabad and Garoti areas came out of their houses and blocked Dhamial Road and protested against low and zero gas pressure.

“We have been facing zero gas pressure even in such a cold weather for 14 to 16 hours daily. We cannot even prepare a cup of tea for breakfast in morning because of gas loadshedding,” said Saiqa Bibi, a housewife who was protesting along with her four school going children. “My children could not go to school today due to gas loadshedding,” she added.

Saman Khan, a resident of Ahmedabad said that she voted PML-N in general elections 2013 and recently held local government elections with a hope that the party will resolve public issues. She said that despite tall claims, the government and its ministers have failed in mitigating the problems of masses. “In winter, the most important issue is provision of gas to the masses.

The government must supply us gas,” she said and started chanting slogans against the government.

Many other women protestors noted that the problem of low gas pressure had become harsher after the LG elections because the government is now feeling no pressure of losing its popularity. They said that they had lodged complaints with the SNGPL high-ups and local representatives of the PML-N but no action has been taken so far. They said that the residents of the area got furious when the gas supply did not improve despite promises made by the gas authorities.

Afzana Bibi, a resident of Chakri said that she is going to Chungi Number 22 to get examined her son to a doctor but has been stuck in traffic blockade for the last one hour. She said that her son was sick because of cold weather. “The government should provide gas to masses,” she demanded.

The protesters said that they are facing problems at domestic level in preparing their breakfast, lunch and dinner as the pressure of gas goes to zero and the stoves go off. They lashed out at the government for inefficient performance and demanded to restore the gas supply as early as possible. They said they cannot believe that the gas supply can go to zero level even after the closure of CNG stations.

Haji Zafar Iqbal, a PML-N local leader and newly elected member of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board, when contacted, said that he had informed the party leadership about the agonies of the public in absence of gas. He said that PML-N MNA Malik Abrar Ahmed also reached the protest site and held negotiations with the protesting people.

“A delegation of local PML-N representatives will soon call on Federal Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for addressing the issue,” he said in response to a question.