Quetta: On Thursday, farmers and others protesting long periods of load shedding shut down many highways in Balochistan.

Hundreds of protesters gathered on highways in the Khuzdar, Kalat, Hub, Kolpur, Lakpas, Loralai, Kuchlak, Pishin, and Yaru districts, erecting barriers and triggering hours-long traffic jams.

After a deadline issued to the Quetta Electricity Supply Company to minimize the length of load-shedding expired, the Zamindar Action Committee called for protests. The protesters stated that they would continue to block highways until load-shedding was reduced in length. Hundreds of buses and trucks carrying goods for Balochistan cities and the Afghan transit trade were stuck at various locations due to roadblocks in around 20 locations.

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Afghan transit trade and NATO supplies for US troops in Afghanistan have also been halted, according to officials. Farmers in many areas of the province, according to Abdul Rehman Bazai, secretary-general of the Zamindar Action Committee, are facing 22-hour load-shedding per day. He added that farmers are unable to obtain water from tube wells at a time when standing wheat and other crops need more water.

This study was contributed by Abdul Wahid Shahwani in Khuzdar, Ali Jan Mangi in Dera Murad, and Behram Baloch in Gwadar.

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