Millions of Pakistanis have been left without electricity since Monday morning and currently sleeping in darkness following the breakdown of the country’s grid system.
The nationwide power blackout has left about 220 million people, including those in major cities like the capital Islamabad and financial hub Karachi, without electricity.
Senior officials reportedly blamed the aging grid infrastructure for the frequent power outages.
In some parts of Islamabad, the capital, and the neighboring city of Rawalpindi, power was restored after eight hours, officials said.
Local officials said the outage began in southern Sindh Province after an unusual fluctuation in the voltage.
That led to a cascading failure at power plants throughout the country.
Addressing a press conference, Pakistani Power Minister Khurrum Dastgir said that a “frequency variation” was reported in southern Pakistan on Monday morning, which resulted in the power outage.
He, however, downplayed the issue, saying it was “not a major crisis,” even as the people’s concerns deepened as time passed by.
Dastgir assured that power would be restored across the country by Monday night.
The power breakdown caused a major disruption in daily activity.
Internet and mobile phone services blinkered offline in intermittent outages across the country.
Emergency generators helped some hospitals, government offices, schools, and airports continued to operate.
“There was complete chaos in the hospital because of the power outage,” said Akram Shah, a 45-year-old textile worker who was accompanying his sick mother at the state-run Abbasi Shaheed Hospital in Karachi, according to report by New York Times.
“Doctors asked most of the patients, who were at hospitals for surgeries, and tests, to come again tomorrow,” he added.
People in several cities complained that they were facing water shortages as water pumps, which run on electricity, were not working.
“We did not have water to wash the dishes, as water could not be pumped from the underground water tank to the overhead tank,” said Shafiqa Ali, a nurse, 45, who works in a private clinic in Karachi. “We could not book cars from the ride-hailing apps to send our children to schools.”
Many shopkeepers used small generators to keep their lights on. But some people complained that they could not withdraw money from A.T.M.s because they had stopped working.
Most people in the country use backup power devices in case of outages, but the small batteries of these devices often die when the outages last many hours.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered a high-level inquiry to determine the exact