Pakistan’s government said it was scrambling to restore power to millions of people on Monday after a breakdown in the grid triggered the worst electricity outage in months and highlighted the weak infrastructure of the heavily indebted nation.
Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir told reporters an inquiry had been launched into the outage, which began at around 7 am (0200 GMT) and has so far lasted more than 12 hours. “We have faced some hurdles but we will overcome these hurdles, and will restore the power,” he added.
The outage, which the minister had said was due to a voltage surge, is the second major grid failure in three months, and adds to the blackouts that Pakistan’s nearly 220 million people suffer on an almost daily basis.
Analysts and officials blame these power problems on the ageing electricity network, which like much of the national infrastructure, desperately needs an upgrade the government says it can ill afford.
The International Monetary Fund has bailed out Pakistan five times in the last two decades. Its latest bailout tranche, however, is stuck due to differences with the government over a programme review that should have been completed in November.