Huge power failure in Pakistan causes blackout leaving 80% of country without electricity

Militants were blamed for the blackout that left around 140 million people in darkness

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The Independent Online

Eighty per cent of Pakistan was plunged into darkness on Sunday as the country experienced a huge blackout that officials blamed on a militant attack.

The blackout, which was one of the worst in the country’s history, was caused by the failure of a power transmission line and left around 140 million people without power across the country – including major cities and the capital Islamabad.

By mid-morning on Sunday officials said power had been restored to roughly half of the country, and Zafaryab Khan, a spokesperson for the ministry of water and power, estimated it would take up to eight more hours for the rest of the power to be restored.

The failure of the power transmission line was blamed on a militant attack on a transmission tower in the south western Baluchistan province. Khan said the attack had caused a power surge that eventually affected 80 per cent of the country.

Abid Sher Ali, minister of state for water and power, posted a statement on Twitter, reading: “We are awake and monitoring the situation to ensure the earliest possible restoration of electricity to all.”

The blackout reportedly caused disruption at Lahore’s international airport and two nuclear power plants were offline.

The blackout emphasized the decrepit state of Pakistan's electrical grid. The country often suffers through long hours of electricity outages, as well as periodic natural gas and gasoline shortages.

Additional reporting by AP