LHC orders equitable outages
LAHORE, July 30: The Lahore High Court chief justice on Monday directed the federal government and the Pakistan Electric Power Company to carry out equitable electricity loadshedding across the country. Hearing a petition against outages at Iftar, Sehr and prayer timings especially in Punjab, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that all provinces should be treated equally and no one should be exempted from loadshedding.
He pointed out that it had been reported in the media that less loadshedding was carried out in localities of prime minister and ministers’ residences.
The chief justice remarked that it was undeniable that the country was facing an electricity shortfall, but the burden should be equally shared by all the provinces.
He issued notices to the Ministry of Water and Power, Pepco and all power distribution companies for Aug 8 and sought their replies on the matter.
Earlier, petitioner in-person Advocate Azhar Siddique argued that Punjab was being subjected to discrimination and given a less electricity share. He said in other provinces, power theft was at large scale and the bill recovery at low even then Punjab was being victimised in the load management plan.
He pointed out that power production was being affected due to non-recovery of bills from other provinces.
He presented a published statement of Public Accounts Committee Chairman and MNA Nadeem Afzal Chan against unfair and unscheduled loadshedding.
He said Mr Chan had threatened to tender resignation if loadshedding in his constituency was not ended like the constituencies of Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf, Water and Power Minister Ahmad Mukhtar and other ministers.
The lawyer argued that the statement of MNA Chan was enough to establish discrimination being done with Punjab.
The petitioner said despite an announcement made by the water and power minister, citizens of Punjab were facing severe loadshedding not only during Sehr and Iftar timings but throughout the day. He said the action was against the principles of promissory and a fraud with the citizens of Punjab.
He argued that failure of electricity supply in Ramazan was violating the fundamental rights as envisaged in the Constitution especially under articles 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 19-A, 23, 24 and 25.
The petitioner prayed the federal government, Wapda, Pepco and distribution companies in Punjab should be restrained from observing loadshedding or load management at Sehr and Iftar and prayer timings.