Rare countrywide power blackout hits Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A rare countrywide blackout has left Pakistan without electricity for almost two hours overnight.

The authorities blamed technical problems for the breakdown early on Monday, insisting it was not caused by sabotage.

Rai Sikandar, an official at the ministry of electricity and water, says there was a malfunction at a plant in the country's southwest around midnight Sunday that put pressure on all major power producing systems, which subsequently stopped working.

He says the country "plunged into total darkness" for at least two hours.

Another official, Masood Akhtar, says power was restored to most of Pakistan by midmorning and that a few remaining areas should get it back in a few hours.

Energy-starved Pakistan experiences daily power outages but complete breakdowns are rare.