–Top judge says court won’t leave people at the mercy of KE
KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Thursday grilled K-Electric (KE) for unannounced loadshedding in the port city despite the court’s orders for ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply.
The chief justice was heading a three-member bench that heard a case against unannounced loadshedding and deaths due to electrocution in the port city at the Supreme Court’s (SC) Karachi Registry.
The court was presented with a report on loadshedding in the city during the hearing. The power supply company’s lawyer told the CJP that electricity was not being switched off. He added that 75 per cent of Karachi was facing zero loadshedding.
The CJP told KE’s lawyer that loadshedding is happening in Delhi Colony, Mahmoodabad, and Phase-V and Phase-VI of Defence .
“Power outages have occurred [in those areas] due to low gas pressure,” admitted KE’s lawyer.
The top court also slammed KE for taking bail from the Sindh High Court in cases related to deaths due to electrocution in the city.
“People die and they go to get bail from the high court for Rs50,000,” remarked the CJP. He vowed that it is a matter of life and death, and the court will not leave the people at the mercy of KE.
The NEPRA chairman who was also present during the hearing, also complained that the power supply company would take stay orders if the regulator takes action against it. He also told the court that there are problems in all matters related to the power supply company.
The regulator’s chairman presented a list of stay orders that KE had obtained from different courts. He informed the court that KE had also taken a stay order over the Rs40 billion it had to pay to consumers. The regulator informed the court that KE has also taken a stay order against buying electricity from a private company.
Upon hearing this, the lawyer for the petitioners asked the court to carry out a forensic audit of the power supply company.
The CJP remarked that the power supply company should be “heavily fined” for its actions. He said that the KE is busy minting money.
The NEPRA chairman complained to the bench that K-Electric gets a stay order from courts whenever action is taken against it. Advocate Faisal Siddiqui said if action was taken against K-Electric earlier, people wouldn’t have died of electrocution this year.
The CJP further observed that people do not have water, power or any place to live in Karachi but government officials are enjoying themselves as nothing matters to them.
The court directed the federation to present a plan for the supply of uninterrupted power to Karachi and said the remaining hearings of the case will be heard in Islamabad. The court then adjourned the hearing for two weeks after issuing the orders.