ISLAMABAD, Oct 22: Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) on Wednesday night disconnected Lal Masjid’s electricity because of non payment of electricity bills, worth Rs 2.2 million by Auqaf Department of federal capital, Dawn has learnt.
Mufti Tehseen Ullah of Lal Masjid said that the mosque is government property, so it is the responsibility of Auqaf Department to pay the bills but the department has made it a routine to delay the payments.
“Although electricity was disconnected on Wednesday night but there was water available in the tanks, all consumed by now, and there is not a single drop left,” he said.
Mufti Tehseen said that there is no water in the bathrooms. There are 10 Muftis teaching in Darul Ifta but cannot do their work, especially in the evening.
Internet was being used in the mosque to issue Fatwas (religious edicts) to people from all over the world but for the last five days, the internet could not be used.
“Iesco and Auqaf both are government departments but thousands of residents of federal capital and students of the mosque have been suffering because of a tussle between them,” he said.
He said that Iesco office has been contacted many times but officials say that they cannot restore the electricity, until the bill is not paid.
Mufti Haider Zaman, who was studying in the light of small batteries, said that all the officials of the mosque and residents of the area have been annoyed by the power disconnection.
“We are peaceful people and don’t want to take law and order in our hands, so decision makers should take notice of the issues,” he said.
Abdul Shakoor, resident of sector G-6/1-2 said that management of the mosque has displayed a banner near the gate, on which it is written that citizens should do ablution at their homes because water is not available in the mosque.
“It is annoying that electricity of the mosque run by the government had been disconnected. I wear chappels and walk to the mosque from my house, it is very inconvenient. Government should resolve the issue,” he demanded.
One official of Iesco requesting anonymity said the department is already running on loss, so it had been principally decided that electricity would not be restored to any department without recovery of dues.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory Administration Farasat Ali Khan said that ICT had been paying its bills but the issue is that there were pending bills of some mosques, which have not been paid for years and now Islamabad Electric Supply Company is demanding all dues along with fines.
“We have demanded funds from the government to clear the backlog but so far we have not gotten them. We have been trying to find a way-out to restore the electricity of the mosque,” he said.
While Mufti Tehseen of Lal Masjid has offered that Lal Masjid management, if the government agrees, is even ready to pay part of the bill.