KARACHI: With the Jamaat-i-Islami and Pak Sarzameen Party calling upon the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of unannounced loadshedding and overbilling by K-Electric in Karachi, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Sunday staged a protest demonstration outside the utility’s head office demanding an end to its monopoly on electricity generation, transmission and distribution.

The PTI also announced that it would stage a sit-in against the “atrocities” of the KE and also approach the Supreme Court against its “highhandedness”.

PTI’s provincial leadership, led by Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, held a press conference outside the head office of the KE calling upon the authorities to bring competition in distribution of power and vowed to approach the National Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and the apex court against the utility.

Mr Naqvi told the press conference that Karachi had been facing a serious power crisis for long, but instead of resolving the issues, the erstwhile Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) was privatised.

JI and PSP seek apex court’s intervention to end outages, overbilling

“This privatisation contract was later extended to 2023. The owners of the privatised KESC have changed but the problems of Karachi electricity consumers continue unabated,” he said.

He said the Karachiites were against the costly electricity and wanted cheap prices of the service. He said electricity rates across Pakistan should be the same. “If Karachi gets cheap electricity whole Pakistan would be benefited.”

He said that so far the KE had failed to resolve the issue of loadshedding and in a recent meeting with the government it presented a lame excuse that they had no furnace oil.

“The federal government arranged furnace oil for the KE. Then again the KE presented another lame excuse that they have no gas and they were given LNG. The KE management then promised at the Governor House to end loadshedding in 48 hours but we haven’t seen any change yet,” he said.

Mr Naqvi said Karachiites were fed up with persistent loadshedding and excessive billing.

He demanded the federal government to issue tenders before 2023 for inviting other companies to take part in bidding for private electricity sector in Karachi. “We believe that the KE should be divided into three companies. Finding an urgent alternative of the KE is the need of the hour,” he added.

PTI MNA Aftab Siddiqui said on the occasion that at several meetings with KE management it was assured that loadshedding in the city would end by June 28.

“But it’s a proven fact now that the KE is not serious in resolving the loadshedding issue. Gul Ahmed and Tapal supply 200 megawatts to the KE. Every facility including gas is being given to the KE, but it is not ready to end the exploitation of Karachi power consumers,” he said.

He said the residents of Karachi were facing overbilling besides the menace of loadshedding.

He demanded that the government contract with the KE be made public and overbilling be ended immediately.

Mr Siddiqui said the PTI would go to the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the KE this week. “From today, PTI leaders will stage a symbolic sit-in daily in their protest camp outside the KE head office,” he added.

Other MNAs and MPAs belonging to the PTI from Karachi were also present.

JI demands nationalisation of KE

City chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman on Sunday demanded that the government nationalise KE and immediately withdraw hike in power tariff.

In a statement, he also appealed to the chief justice Pakistan to take suo motu notice in this regard and direct authorities to probe into reports of funding for PTI’s election campaign by Abraaj Group, the parent company of the KE.

He said the KE had failed to provide any relief to its consumers and instead it increased the duration of loadshedding in the city.

He also demanded cancellation of the KE’s power supply licence and called upon Nepra to take stern action against the utility.

PSP asks CJP to summon KE officials

The Pak Sarzameen Party on Sunday demanded the chief justice of Pakistan to summon KE officials and representatives from the government to resolve the issue of overbilling and unannounced loadshedding in Karachi.

The demand was made by PSP chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal while addressing his workers and supporters via video link.

He said that the reason for prolonged and unannounced loadshedding was that KE was being sold and its management wanted to show higher profit to attract potential buyers.

Mr Kamal said the only solution to end KE’s monopoly in Karachi was to issue electricity transmission licences to other power companies on the lines of cellular companies currently operating in the country.

Sattar leads demo against KE

Disgruntled Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader and chief of his own organisational restoration committee Dr Farooq Sattar along with his workers and supporters staged a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club on Saturday evening in protest over unannounced loadhsedding by KE and its overbilling.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sattar said that the people of Karachi rejected the recent hike in electricity tariff of KE. “The federal government is equally complicit in the crimes of the K-Electric,” he said.

He said that the people of Karachi would stage a protest demonstration outside the office of the KE.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2020