Powerhouses in Gilgit-Baltistan face severe water shortage due to freezing cold. Image: Republic
Pakistan, amid a food shortage and a burgeoning economic crisis, is now facing massive power outages. The South Asian nation's many troubles are showing an impact in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Gilgit-Baltistan is steeped in darkness as there is little to no electricity being generated and the region's powerhouses are running dry. Sources in the region say power plants are battling a severe water shortage that is hurting the ability to generate electricity.
Power outages in Gilgit-Baltistan, along with Pakistan's other troubles, have triggered massive public outrage.
Residents are outraged over inflated power bills and withdrawal of government subsidy on electricity during the winter, when demand for electricity is high. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are also lamenting the exploitation of natural resources by the Pakistan Army and the PoK government.
The Pakistani government has admitted that it dosen't have any alternative arrangements for power supply.
On regular days, residents of Gilgit-Baltistan stay without power for an average of 10 hours. Now, amid a power crisis, power outages often go on for 21 hours or more.
The situation is similar in much of Pakistan, including major cities such as capital Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.
Pakistan generates about 60-63% of its electricity from fossil fuels, while around 27% of electricity is generated by hydropower. The remaining 10% of power comes from nuclear and solar sources.
The Pakistan government has recently had to enforce a policy to close shopping malls and markets at 8:30 pm to conserve energy.
The Shehbaz Sharif-led country is currently facing a severe economic crisis, owing to a decline in foreign exchange reserves. Negotiations are going on with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to soften conditions of a $6 billion bailout, which the government fears will lead to further inflation.
In August, the IMF released the final $1.1 billion instalment of the bailout, but discussions between the two sides have been inconsistent due to Pakistan's reluctance to implement new tax measures.