KARACHI: Despite a lapse of three years, the federal and provincial governments have failed to implement court directives asking the National power and gas authorities to stop providing connections to those consumers who did not have legal documents of the places for which the supply was required.

Such consumers included houses as well as seminaries, according to the directive, which had observed that providing connections to them was resulting in thriving encroachments in the metropolis.

In August 2020, an anti-terrorism court had directed the relevant authorities in the Nepra and Ogra to stop the practice of providing power and gas connections to the residents in Karachi without legal documents.

The court had issued these directives while deciding a case pertaining to terror-financing by members of proscribed religious outfit Jaish-i-Muhammad (JeM).

An ATC had asked Nepra and Ogra to stop providing connections to places without legal documents

Prosecution officials told Dawn that during the trial of the case, the deputy commissioner concerned had disclosed that the convicts were illegally occupying a piece of 1,400 square yards land in Sector-D of Surjani Town as a seminary, which was being used for fundraising to support and finance terrorist activities by the outfit.

According to the counter-terrorism department, people concerned with the said banned organisation were enrolling children in that seminary under the pretext of education in the shape of a school in order to upsurge the membership of their organisation.

The prosecution had claimed that the children were also being brainwashed and, despite the fact that the outfits’ members were told that there was a ban imposed on such religious outfits and activities, they continued to collect illegal funds and facilitation by providing money to the terrorists belonging to such proscribed organisation.

The court had sentenced two JeM activists, Muhammad Bin Shahzad Ahmed and Rehan Ahmed with 21-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs35,000 each for terror financing and association with the banned outfit.

In his judgment, the judge had observed that during the trial of this case, it appeared that by giving connections of electricity and gas without asking for legal documents, the culture of encroachment was being promoted, which was necessary to be curtailed by not providing such utilities to such places.

He had further observed that a large number of such illegal areas were there in the city where utilities were provided by both above departments/authorities and “if such utilities are not to be provided, then nobody dare to encroach upon private as well as government lands”.

The judge had noted that due to the culture of such illegal occupations, other citizens were facing hardships in the name of electricity and gas loadshedding; side by side such government institutions failed to generate revenue as such practices could not take place without complicity of their relevant staff, in order to curtail such practices.

In order to curtail such practices, the judge directed his office to send a copy of the judgement to the heads of Nepra and Ogra to control such illegal practices and to look into the matter within 30 days and submit a compliance report to the court.

The judge also observed that the administration of the mosque was also handed over by the ‘Sindh government to the members of same proscribed organisation in violation of the SRO No. 261(I)/2019 dated March 4, 2019, according to its Clause 20, titled as ‘Management of Properties’.

Therefore, the judge had also directed the provincial chief secretary to look into this within 30 days.

Judicial sources told Dawn that neither the federal government nor the chiefs of the Nepra and Ogra and the provincial chief secretary had filed their respective reports regarding implementation of the court’s directives despite a lapse of three years.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2023

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