LAHORE - Mainstream opposition parties on Friday joined forces to stage protests against the unprecedented power cuts across the country.

Analysts suggested the move could herald a new opposition alliance against the government.

Leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) led hundreds of slogan-chanting protesters demanding government action to minimise power cuts during the scorching heat.

They also called on the government to issue a time-table for a rapid end to loadshedding.

The protestors gathered at Aiwan-i-Iqbal and marched to the Lahore Press Club where they expressed solidarity with the families of more than one thousand people who died in the Sindh heat wave. Opposition leaders have claimed they died because of power cuts. The protestors were also carrying placards and banners inscribed with their demands.

PTI leaders Chaudhary Sarwar, Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed and Shafqat Mehmood, while addressing the participants of the protest, said the incumbent rulers have no right to rule as they have failed to provide even the basic necessities to the people.

They questioned why the leaders of the ruling party were keeping mum over the issue of long power cuts. PML-N had promised during the election campaign they end the load shedding in six months after getting power.

The PTI leaders claimed more than 1000 people died in Sindh because of loadshedding, not the intense heatwave. The people of Sindh faced acute shortage water due to loadshedding which also caused loss of life. They held both the federal government and Sindh government responsible for the loss of over thousand lives, demanding registration of cases against the ruling parties in province and centre.

They also claimed PTI if voted to power would resolve energy crisis on priority.

Speaking on this occasion, PAT leaders Dr Raheeq Abbasi and Khurram Nawaz Gandapur too demanded registration of FIRs against the ruling party.

They further demanded resignation of ministers for Water and Power for failing to control the loadshedding.

PPP leaders Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood and Aitzaz Ahsan said the government had miserably failed in controlling the loadshedding despite their tall claims of managing it six months after getting power.

They claimed the Solar Park, Bahawalpur project would meet the same fate as of Nandipur Power Project because of the project’s cost ineffectiveness. The PPP government added 3400mw to the national grid but the current government had added only 100mw in two years, they added.

JI senior leader Liaqat Baloch, addressing the gathering, said the rulers had failed to address the genuine grievances of the masses and the people had fed up of their false promises. He said deaths in Karachi were matter of grave concern for every human being.

PML-Q leader Chaudhary Zaheer-ud-Din and MWM leader Abdul Khaliq Asadi also spoke on the occasion.

Analysts highlighted the unprecedented agreement among the opposition groups and suggested it could mark the emergence of a new, stronger anti-government alliance if the protests continued.

None of the parties have yet indicated any plans for a closer alliance but the PAT leadership said it would continue the protests until the loadshedding is reduced.