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Top court will not interfere in KE privatisation matter: CJP

“Supreme Court does not have expertise in economic affairs,” says CJP Bandial

By Maryam Nawaz
June 05, 2023
Supreme Court of Pakistan. The News/Files
Supreme Court of Pakistan. The News/Files

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial has said that the country’s top court will not meddle in the matter related to the privatisation of Karachi-based private power utility, saying the Supreme Court has no expertise in the economic affairs.

The CJP’s remarks came while hearing the petition filed by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) against the privatisation of K-Electric — the sole power utility company in Karachi.

Three-member bench led by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Ayesha A Malik heard the plea.

The CJP told the petitioner’s counsel Rashid Rizvi that he could approach the relevant high court for the matter.

“Parliament has made two laws related to clause 3 of Article 184,” he remarked.

Advocate Salahuddin told the apex court that an application was also filed against the power utility’s labour union.

To which, Justice Malik responded that the court was not hearing the matter of labour union.

The petitioner’s counsel requested the top court to adjourn the hearing on the matter till next week.

“Holidays are starting next week, judges will not be available on the principal seat,” the chief justice remarked.

He said judges will be in their respective registries from next week.

CJ Bandial asked advocate Rizvi to take instructions from his client regarding the case and fixed the hearing of the case for tomorrow (Tuesday).

The company formerly known as Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) was privatised in 2005 for a sum of Rs16 billion to a Saudi-Kuwaiti group. In those days, the US dollar was valued at Rs59.75 in the inter-bank market.

Going by those rates, the company was privatised for $270 million.

The general perception was that privatisation will improve the financial condition of the company. In 2009, the company was sold to private equity firm Abraj Group with management control for Rs361 million.