Islamabad-Around dozen of mosques in the federal capital are without power for the last two weeks as the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) has disconnected electricity of these mosques running under the auspices of the Auqaf Directorate due to non-payment of arrears of millions of rupees.

The electricity was disconnected more than two weeks ago, however the Auqaf Directorate has failed to reach a deal with the IESCO, an official source told The Nation here. “By Friday even after the passage of two weeks, the Auqaf Directorate even didn’t bother to have a meeting with the IESCO for scheduling the payment method or at least making a commitment,” he. There are 86 mosques working under the Auqaf Directorate of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and their utilities bills are being funded by the government. The IESCO has disconnected the electricity of around 19 mosques due to non-payment of arrears of Rs8.06 million however later the electricity of 10 mosques was restored while the remaining were still without power.

The Auqaf Directorate in a letter to the IESCO said that they have written to AGPR and as soon as they will get their reply they will clear the dues. The IESCO was further asked to restore the electricity.

On Friday, The Nation called the Auqaf Directorate but no officer level official was available in the office. Although the exact number of Masajid could not be known as a lower grade official of the Auqaf Directorate was available for comment and he was tight lipped about the number of mosques.

However, later the administrative officer of Auqaf Directorate was contacted on his cellular phone but he was even unaware of the total number of Masajid where the electricity was disconnected. “I am only aware of the disconnection of one masjid and that is masjid Lal Masjid,” he said. When he was told that he has already written to IESCO for the restoration of electricity of Saad Bin Abi Waqas Masjid, he said: “yes I have written the letter”.

However, the source said, only in sector G-7 the electricity of seven mosques was disconnected due to non-payment arrears of million of rupees.

He said that only one Masjid Saad bin Abi Waqas has the arrears of more than half a million. People are facing a lot of problems while performing prayers particularly Fajr and Isha and making ablution.  The Masajid are spending a huge amount on buying fuel for the generators. The electricity of Lal Masjid was also disconnected as it owes Rs4.1 million to IESCO but it was restored on the last Friday.

 These Masajid are ready to pay their current bills from their own resource but cannot afford to pay the arrears, the source said.

 He said that the file pertaining with the arrears was in the office of Deputy Commissioner Islamabad for the last two week and as soon as he will return it, the Auqaf Directorate will be able to do something about the issue.

 When asked why you don’t meet with IESCO to resolve the issue, he said the file is in Deputy Commissioner office and as soon as they will get it back they will take some action. To a question as why the deputy commissioner has delayed the file related to such an important issue, he said that “He [Deputy Commissioner] is busy in doing other important jobs”.

To another query that why they are not paying dues, he said that now they are regularly paying the electricity bills of the Masajid and the arrears were accumulated since one decade. The arrears are for different utilities are around Rs15 million and the finance department is not ready to pay it, he added.   

To get the latest updates on the issue on Monday, the administrative officer was called again on his cell phone and he said that they have paid some amount and will resolve the issue by Tomorrow (Tuesday). However, he refused to divulge any other information, saying “Call during the office hour.