ISLAMABAD - AHMAD AHMADANI - The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power on Monday expressed its deep shock when Islamabad Electricity Supply Company Chief Executive Yousuf Awan disclosed the Presidency, Prime Minister’s House, Supreme Court, GHQ, ISI Headquarters, National Accountability Bureau, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and Judges’ Colony were exempted from loadshedding.

The committee lamented this shocking disclosure made by the chief executive of the Islamabad Electricity Supply Company who had been summoned to give the reasons why the nation was facing loadshedding of 12-21 hours a day in the scorching heat.

Senate Body Chairman Zahid Khan in his remarks said, “I am totally shocked that the common man was facing up to 21 hours of loadshedding while the president, the prime minister, generals and judges had been exempted from it even though they could afford to buy generators.”

The meeting of the Senate body, held under its chairman Senator Zahid Khan in the Parliament House, was attended by senators, Maula Bakhsh Chandio, Khalida Parveen, Shahi Sayed and Nisar Muahham. The additional secretaries of the ministries of water and power and finance gave briefings to the meeting.

However, the Senate panel was deeply annoyed over the absence of the federal minister and the federal water and power secretary from the meeting and summoned both of them on the next meeting. The Senate body will meet today (Tuesday) in protest against the absence of the federal minister and the secretary. The committee also advised the government to ensure the presence of the minister and the secretary in the upcoming meeting.

The committee demanded the PML-N government order equal power loadshedding across the board, but give exemption to hospitals and defence installations.

The committee observed equal power loadshedding across the board was necessary as there was no other way to control the crisis. Expressing dissatisfaction over the briefing of power generation companies, the committee sought a detailed report from the power distributing companies (Discos) on the government bodies enjoying exemption from power loadshedding.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power chairman threatened to resign from the chairmanship of the body if the government did not act upon its recommendations. Following the Chairman’s warning, Maula Bakhsh Chandio, another member, also threatened to tender resignation in case the authorities concerned did not pay heed to the committee’s recommendations.

The ongoing power crisis remained under discussion during the course of the meeting. The Senate panel said since the country’s economy was on the brink of disaster due to the rising power loadshedding which had gone out of control, so equal power loadshedding was a must throughout the country. The committee, however, recommended that hospitals and defence installations should be exempted.

The committee chairman also instructed the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) to improve its working otherwise its privatisation contract would be terminated. He reiterated the committee’s earlier stance regarding withdrawal of 650mw of electricity from the KESC. He also said that if the KESC did not improve its working, the committee could advise the government to cancel its privatisation contract and place it under the control of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).