'Blackout': Massive power outage in Pakistan as several cities plunge into darkness

"Frequency in the power distribution system suddenly dropped from 50 to 0 which caused the blackout," says Minister for Power Omar Ayub

Web Desk
Karachi neighbourhoods seen submerged in darkness during a power breakdown. — Reuters/File
  • Mega cities of Pakistan, and Azad Kashmir plunge into darkness
  • Minister for Power Omar Ayub says fault originated in Guddu at 11:41pm
  • Says "frequency in the power distribution system suddenly dropped from 50 to 0 which caused the blackout"

A massive power outage was reported late Saturday night from several cities across Pakistan.

The cities facing disruption included Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Narowal, Bhakkar, Kabirwala, Khanewal, Bahawalpur and Sukkur.

The breakdown extended as far as Azad Kashmir. Furthermore, according to Geo News' Nadeem Kausar, 29 districts of Balochistan were without power.

He said mobile and internet services have also been affected due to the breakdown.

Geo News quoted a Power Division spokesperson as urging against rumour mongering.

A 500kVA transmission line has tripped, reported Geo News, adding that Jhelum, Tarbela and Mangla power plants are shut.


In Islamabad, all sectors lost power, reported Geo News.


Within Karachi, outages were reported from Korangi, Defence, Garden, Clifton, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, MA Jinnah Road, II Chundrigar Road, Liaquatabad, and FB Area.

Even the Jinnah International Airport remained without power.

Power minister explains issue

Minister for Power Omar Ayub, in a statement on Twitter, said that the "frequency in the power distribution system suddenly dropped from 50 to 0 which caused the blackout".

"We are trying to ascertain what caused the drop in frequency."

Ayub said that Tarbela "will be activated so a phase wise restoration can be carried out".

He requested the nation to exercise patience.

"All of our teams have reached their respective stations. As the Minister for Power I am personally overseeing the work for restoration of power.

"We will keep you updated periodically over the progress in power restoration," he added.

Fault's origin

In a subsequent update, Ayub said that a preliminary probe has revealed that the fault originated in Guddu at 11:41pm on Saturday.

"The fault led to tripping of transmission lines across Pakistan due to which in less than a second, the systems frequency dropped from 50 to 0. The dropped frequency led to a shut down of the power plants," he wrote.

'Transmission frequency being matched to transmission system'

In another update, Ayub said that three units of the Tarbela power house and some of the Warsak power house have been turned on.

"The transmission frequency is being matched to the transmission system," he said.

The power minister said that a phase-wise restoration of power will soon begin. "As soon as the initial frequency is found, the rest of the power restoration soon follows."

'NTDC lines have tripped'

A few minutes into the breakdown, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat said that the National Transmission Despatch Company’s lines have tripped, causing outage.

"It will take sometime before everything gets back to normal," he added.

Minister for Information Shibli Faraz confirmed there is a technical fault in the NTDC system and it is being restored.

'Power ministry working to resolve issue'

The prime minister's aide on political communication Shahbaz Gill said that he has spoken to Minister for Power Omar Ayub and "his entire team is working to resolve the issue".

"We will update you soon, InshaAllah," he said.

#Blackout becomes top trend

Within minutes of the breakdown, the term #blackout became a top trend on Twitter in Pakistan with more than 50,000 tweets.