Tue, 09 Aug 2022

Karachi [Pakistan], June 28 (ANI): Karachi residents on Monday protested over frequent power cuts and blocked Mauripur Road for the second day in a row.

Fed up with power cuts, people blocked the roads and traffic was suspended from the ICI bridge to the Lyari Expressway for over 15 hours, reported Geo News.

A major traffic jam was caused by a long queue of large trailers, and trucks also blocked the road connecting the ICI bridge to the SITE area and Mauripur Road.

The protest comes amid Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's warnings that the country might face increased load-shedding in the coming month of July.

His comments came during a meeting with PML-N members of the National Assembly and allied parties in the federal capital, reported Geo News.

The PM said that Pakistan could not get its required liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply, but that the coalition government is trying to make the deal possible.

Pakistan's monthly fuel oil imports are set to hit a four-year high in June, Refinitiv data showed, as the country struggles to buy LNG for power generation amid a heatwave that is driving demand, reported Geo News.

Pakistan is facing an escalation of its power crisis after it failed to agree on a deal for natural gas supply next month. Tenders for July were scrapped due to high price, and low participation as the nation is already taking action to tackle widespread blackouts.

Pakistan's government is attempting to boost energy conservation, has cut working hours for public servants and ordered shopping malls to factories to shut early in various cities, including Karachi.

Pakistan already has two long-term supply deals with Qatar -- the first signed in 2016 for five cargoes a month, and the second in 2021, under which Pakistan currently gets three monthly shipments but the nation is currently under a massive grip of widespread power outrages as procurement of the chilled fuel remains unreliable and expensive due to its increased reliance on LNG for electricity generation.

Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik, who was in Doha early this week for talks with Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs and Qatar Energy chief executive Saad al-Kaabi had confirmed talks but said the government was exploring different "innovative" pricing and supply strategies in broad-based talks.

Ismail said the government was also speaking to Qatar about a new five or 10-year LNG supply deal for three monthly cargoes, as well as an additional cargo under an existing deal.

The fast depletion of the foreign exchange reserves was the result of Pakistan's inflation of twin deficits, and a lack of foreign currency inflows.

Inflation in Pakistan entered the double-digit mark in July, the biggest surge in nearly six years. (ANI)

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