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Pakistan Claims ‘Lessons Learned’ From Nationwide Power Cut

Pakistan’s energy minister blamed network under-investment for the power outage, the country’s second major breakdown in months

Pakistan power cuts
Millions of Pakistanis suffer partial blackouts almost daily.


Pakistan has admitted a lack of investment in its network was to blame for a huge power cut that left tens of millions without electricity on Monday.

The country’s energy minister said on Tuesday the aid-dependant nation had “learned lessons” from the breakdown that affected businesses, factories and schools.

Pakistan has lurched from one International Monetary Fund bailout to the next and its national infrastructure desperately needs an upgrade but funding has been patchy.

The outage, which began on Monday morning, was the second major breakdown since October.


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“We learned lessons from yesterday that we need to invest in the distribution system,” Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir told reporters as he announced that power had been fully restored to the nation of nearly 220 million people.

“There hasn’t been any investment in improving these systems from the previous government,” he added.

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.

Pakistan has enough installed power capacity to meet demand, but the sector is so heavily in debt that it cannot afford to invest in infrastructure and power lines. Analysts say transmission and distribution are the weakest links.

China has invested in its power sector as part of a $60 billion infrastructure scheme that feeds into its “Belt and Road” initiative, but details of this investment are unclear.


Pakistan’s Daily Blackouts

Dastgir said the cause of the outage was not yet known, but the ministry was conducting a safety audit of the entire network. “The government plans to add more power distribution lines within the next 36 months,” he added.

Millions of Pakistanis suffer partial blackouts almost daily, including scheduled “load shedding” power outs aimed at conserving electricity.

Many take these disruptions in their stride, investing in generators and solar panels to generate their own power, but the frail infrastructure also takes its toll. 

“Without electricity, we can’t do anything,” said Sara Khan, the principal of a school for girls in Jacobabad, a southern city which regularly goes up to 18 hours a day without power. “The people are facing too many difficulties because of the power cuts.”


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Pakistan Grid Outage Leaves Tens of Millions Without Power

UN Chief Urges ‘Massive’ Support to Help Pakistan Rebuild



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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