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Nationwide power blackout in Pakistan, 210 mil in the dark

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People wait to receive charity food while maintaining social distance in Rawalpindi of eastern Pakistan's Punjab province on April 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Power was gradually being restored to major cities across Pakistan yesterday after it was hit by a massive electricity blackout, officials said.

The electricity distribution system in the nation of more than 210 million people is a complex – and delicate – web, and a problem in one section of the grid can lead to cascading breakdowns countrywide.

The latest blackout was caused by a fault in southern Pakistan at 11:41 pm local time on Saturday, power minister Omar Ayub Khan tweeted, citing preliminary reports.

“The fault tripped the transmission system of the country… leading to the shutdown of power plants,” Khan said.

The blackout plunged all of Pakistan’s major cities into darkness, including the capital Islamabad, economic hub Karachi and the second-largest city Lahore.

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