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LAHORE, Aug 17: The Lahore High Court chief justice on Friday directed the federal government, the National Electric Power and Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and others to take concrete steps for the eradication of chronic electricity loadshedding in the country.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial also directed the authorities to ensure equitable distribution of electricity in the country and withdraw exemption from loadshedding given to certain housing societies.

The chief justice was hearing a petition against electricity loadshedding in the month of Ramazan especially during Sehr, Iftar and Taraveeh timings. Judicial Activism Panel chairman Advocate Azhar Siddique filed the petition.

During the course of hearing the chief justice remarked that the government had miserably failed to control the crisis of electricity loadshedding. He regretted that the Nepra had not evolved any mechanism to control or eliminate electricity theft and line losses.

The CJ observed that under Article 9 of the constitution, the government was responsible to provide basic necessities of life to citizens and the electricity was one of basic elements of the life.

The CJ also admitted an application of distribution companies who wanted to become necessary parties in the case and adjourned further hearing till Sept 12.

It was submitted in the petition that province of Punjab was being subjected to discrimination and given less electricity share.

The petitioner said in other provinces, electricity theft was at large scale and bill recovery at low even then Punjab was being victimized in electricity load management plan. He pointed out that the power production was being affected due to non-recovery of bills from other provinces.

The petitioner said despite announcement made by minister of water and power, citizens of Punjab had been facing severe loadshedding not only during Sehri and Iftari timings but all the day.

He stated that the failure in supplying electricity during the month of Ramazan was violation of fundamental rights as envisaged in the constitution of Pakistan especially under articles 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 19-A, 23, 24 and 25 of the Constitution.