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October 14, 2020

Is Karachi power supply being controlled from Mumbai?

Top Story

October 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the federal government was not fulfilling its responsibility and addressing the problems being faced by the people of Karachi because of excessive and unannounced loadshedding.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard a suo moto case pertaining to excessive and unannounced loadshedding in Sindh. The court expressed dissatisfaction over the report submitted by the federal government and the National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and sought a comprehensive report on measures being taken to resolve the issue.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that every institution was taking advantage of the shortcomings of the government, adding that K-Electric was not benefiting the citizens of Karachi. “K-Electric has become people’s master after hijacking them”, the CJP remarked, adding that the price of electricity had again increased in Sindh.

The counsel for K-Electric, however, contended that the price of electricity had been increased across the country. The Chief Justice asked about the controlling authority of K-Electric and the volume of its shareholders. Quoting newspapers reports, the Chief Justice observed that the power supply to Balochistan and Karachi was being controlled from Bombay now called Mumbai.

“If it is being controlled from Mumbai, how Karachi could get full power supply and half of the city will remain in dark”, the CJP noted. The counsel for K-Electric, however, termed news reports baseless, saying the status of the shareholders was clear. The CJP notedthat the issue of loadshedding was yet to be resolved.

“We have reservations about the investors in K-Electric”, the CJP remarked and inquired about Chairman Shan Ashri. Is he a Pakistan’s national? the CJP asked. The K-Electric chairman appeared before the court and informed that his name is Shan Abbas Ashri and he is Pakistani. He informed the court that investors having ties with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had invested $400 million in the company.

The CJP, however, observed that the story did not end here and there must be someone behind them and the company must have connections in Mumbai. He asked about the amount generated through privatizing K-Electric to which the NEPRA chairman submitted that the Privatization Commission could inform the court in this regard.

To a question, he admitted the blunder made during the time of privatization of the company when power generation, distribution and other matters were handed over to K-Electric, saying it was the biggest mistake.

The Chief Justice observed that the situation in Karachi was worsening day by day, adding “it seems we are living in a stone-age.” He said that no service was being provided to Karachi people.

Meanwhile, Attorney-General Khalid Javed sought time for a briefing to the court in the chamber, adding Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umer and Federal Energy Minister Umer Ayub would be called in this regard. The court accepted the plea and adjourned further hearing for a month.