Pesco seeks FIR against PTI MPA after protesters allegedly enter Peshawar grid station, activate feeders

Published May 25, 2024
PTI MPA Fazl Elahi addresses the media during a protest at the Rehman Baba gird station in Peshawar on May 25. — Screenshot from video taken by correspondent
PTI MPA Fazl Elahi addresses the media during a protest at the Rehman Baba gird station in Peshawar on May 25. — Screenshot from video taken by correspondent

The Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) sought a first information report (FIR) against PTI MPA Fazal Elahi on Saturday after he allegedly led protesters inside Peshawar’s Rehman Baba Grid Station and forcibly activated feeders.

A statement from Pesco said Elahi surrounded the grid station with the protesters and later entered it to “forcibly” activate nine feeders considered “high loss feeders” with losses on them due to electricity theft and non-payment of dues over 80 per cent.

It added that a heavy police contingent was also present at the scene.

“Operation is going on to reduce the losses on the mentioned feeders by Pesco,” the statement said.

Elahi earlier said while addressing the crowd, “We will continue to protest outside the grid station unless the power is restored.” He further warned that the demonstrators would take control of the grid station if their demands were not met.

“If the matter is not resolved here, we will shut down Sheikh Muhammadi Grid station,” he threatened. “We will close the power there and cut off the electricity supply to the whole area.”

The MPA said the protesters were “demanding their rights” and urged PTI workers to “drag their MPAs in front of grid stations”.

The protest came to an end after the demonstrators received assurances that Pesco would reduce prolonged power cuts. Elahi announced the end of the rally after negotiations between the demonstrators, Assistant Commissioner Haroon Saleem and Pesco executive engineer Alam Zeb proved successful.

A Dawn.com correspondent present at the negotiations said Zeb assured the protesters that loadshedding would not exceed 10 hours and that feeders in the area would be supplied with adequate power.

Once the negotiations were finalised, Elahi announced the end of the rally and protesters dispersed. While negotiating with the Peshawar Electric Supply Company officials, Elahi promised to take action against power theft. “We will eradicate power theft from the neighbourhood,” he vowed.

Elahi also said that he stood with the Water and Power Development Authority, which he said was “short-staffed right now”.

However, the Pesco executive engineer later submitted a complaint, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, to the Rehman Baba station house officer seeking an FIR against the PTI MPA.

The complaint said that around 9am a “mob of almost 400-450 persons” entered the grid station led by Elahi and forcefully restored the supply of the following feeders: Sorazai, Sorazai Bala, New Chamkani, Yaka toot, New Hazar Khani and Qalandar Baba.

The complaint added that the six feeders were kept active from 10am to 1pm which caused a “heavy loss to Pesco as all feeders are sick and defective”.

“It is further added that during the above interval of time, approximately 70,000 units (which comes out to Rs3.64 million loss to Pesco in money) have been consumed as per grid-provided data, which was caused due to unlawful act of above MPA along with his supporters.

“In light of the above, it is requested to lodge proper FIR against the mentioned nominee as per the law of government of Pakistan, in intervening in official duties of Peco and operational activities, challenging the writ of government of Pakistan, loss sustained to government assets and other relevant clauses that relate to this issue,” the complaint concluded.

Dawn.com reached out to MPA Elahi and the Pesco executive engineer for comments after this development.

Elahi said: “If they like to register FIRs then they can do it a thousand times but I will take my right and it is not that I will stand back from our right. It is their misunderstanding. We will continue our protest since it is my democratic right.”

In September last year, ministers of the caretaker government, while announcing a crackdown against electricity theft, revealed that the losses of power distribution companies in Peshawar, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta and Azad Jammu and Kashmir were as high as 60pc.

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