Pakistan’s national grid suffered a major outage on Monday. The country’s Ministry of Electricity has said that the entire Pakistan is without electricity due to two disasters in the national grid in the last three months. Through this, the infrastructural weakness of the indebted country has been revealed, according to the news agency Reuters.

Power Minister Khurram Dastgir told Reuters the outage was caused by a large voltage surge in the south of the grid, which affected the entire network.

Dastgir said supplies were being partially restored from north to south about six hours after factories, hospitals and schools were closed. The grid will be fully operational by 10pm. But we are doing our best to recover before then.’

Even last October, a major outage took several hours to restore. A senior official of the ministry has been blamed for the outage. As a result, 22 crore people of Pakistan have suffered severe power outages.

“There is an inherent weakness in the system,” said an official on condition of anonymity. Generators are too far from load centers and transmission lines are too long and inadequate.’

Much like the national infrastructure, Pakistan’s grid needs an urgent upgrade. The government is looking at an International Monetary Fund bail-out for the job.

Pakistan has enough power capacity to meet demand, but it lacks the resources to run oil-and-gas-fired plants, and the sector is so heavily indebted that it cannot invest in infrastructure and power lines.

The outages affected parts of the country, from the economic capital Karachi to the capital Islamabad, the eastern city of Lahore and Peshawar in the north. However, trading on the stock exchange was not affected.

(January 23)