Pakistan tumbled into darkness on Saturday night as a massive blackout hit major parts of the country. A fault in the Power Distribution System is said to be the cause of the blackout which affected 114 cities including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore and others.
The internet facility in the country also “collapsed” due to the outage, connectivity was at 62% of the usual level according to Netblocks, an NGO which monitors governance of internet. The blackout also adversely affected condition in hospitals and especially the patients on life support since there was no backup for a prolonged period. Jinnah International Airport in Karachi and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir were also struck by the outage.
Primary reports suggested that there was initially a fault in Guddu Power Plant in Sindh province. According to Omar Ayub Khan, the Power Minister of Pakistan, the blackout was caused due to a fault in southern Pakistan at 11:41 PM (local time) on Saturday. “The fault tripped the transmission system of the country…leading to shutdown of power plants”, Khan tweeted. He added that, the frequency in the power distribution system suddenly dropped from 50 to zero, causing the blackout. It is not yet clear as to what caused the drop in frequency.
The office of Deputy Commissioner of Pakistan tweeted, “NTDC system tripped. It will take sometime before everything gets back to normal. #blackout #electricity”. As per reports of the Ministry of Energy of Pakistan, power had been restored in some parts of the country till early hours of Sunday.
This is not the first incident of a blackout in Pakistan, the country’s electricity distribution is rather fragile and complex. In 2015, 80% of the nation plunged into darkness as a result of a notorious attack on a key power line.