End to KE monopoly demanded as JI referendum continues

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Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has demanded that the government bring an end to the monopoly of K-Electric to ensure transparency and equality in the power production and distribution sector.

The JI leader made the demand during a news conference in the Saddar market area , followed by a visit to a referendum camp set up for local traders.

Small traders’ organisation president Mahmood Hamid, the cooperative market association president and other trade leaders also addressed the presser. A large number of traders and scores of people took part in the referendum.

Speaking on the occasion, Engr Rehman said Karachiites are forced to pay fuel adjustment charges due to the inefficiency of the old electricity production plants that KE has not upgraded, which itself is a violation by the private company.

The JI leader said that the people of the city are also forced to pay electricity duty that goes to the government of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the province.

He said Karachiites are forced to pay for line losses that occur due to the incompetency and greed of KE, adding that the city’s residents are also forced to pay for the liabilities of the private company.

He explained that in 2009 the then president Asif Ali Zardari had paid some Rs200 billion to pay off the liabilities of KE. He said the provincial government also receives a handsome amount collected in the power bills under the head of electricity duty. The JI leader also said that KE has become a mafia, enjoying complete support of and shelter by political mafias both in the province and in the Centre.

Highlighting the alleged nexus between KE and political parties, he said the Governor House in Karachi always plays the role of a facilitator, no matter if the governor belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

On the other hand, he said, Karachi plays the role of the economic hub of the country, providing livelihood to people from across the country and contributing significantly to the national exchequer.

He pointed out that this year there has been a whopping 42 per cent increase in tax submission from the city. However, he lamented, the city’s residents have been facing prolonged power outages despite paying excessive bills.

Rehman said the PPP government in Sindh has badly failed in the provision of basic facilities to Karachiites, pointing out that the infrastructure in the city is in a shambles, the citizens are facing acute shortage of water and there is no system for mass transit, let alone the educational and health facilities. Despite all its failures in discharging its obligations, the provincial government, with the help of a private company, wishes to collect municipality charges without even removing garbage from the city that looks like a mega dumpster, he said.

He reiterated his demands that the government revoke the licence of KE, bring in more companies in the power production and distribution sector, and carry out a forensic audit of KE’s accounts. He said that the power company, in open violation of the agreement with the state, does not intend to end electricity load-shedding despite earning billions of rupees as net profit, adding that the company has posted an increase of 22 per cent in profits this year.

The JI leader said Karachiites have grown tired of both KE and the PPP government in Sindh. He said that as far as municipal charges in electricity bills are concerned, it is a shameful and condemnable act by the provincial government and the power company.

He added that JI will develop a consensus among the masses over the issue of payment of electricity bills that include municipal charges, as the party will stand with the public whatever the outcome of the referendum.

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