ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan Tuesday directed the federal government and National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to submit a comprehensive report regarding unannounced load-shedding in Sindh province.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed conducted hearing of a suo moto notice on the excessive and unannounced load-shedding in the province.

Expressing its dissatisfaction, the bench rejected the reports submitted by the federal government and Nepra in this matter.

The Chief Justice said that these reports do not give a clear picture. He added that neither the federal nor the provincial governments were doing anything to address the issue. He further said, “The federation is not fulfilling its responsibility.”

Justice Gulzar asked who controls K-Electric and how many its shareholders are. He said that according to media reports, the distribution of power in Karachi and Balochistan is being controlled from Mumbai. However, the K-Electric counsel dismissed the notion that K-Electric is being controlled from Mumbai. He informed the court that the news about the matter is wrong.

The Chief Justice stated that corporate affairs were often tangled and someone else was usually reaping the benefits. “We have concern over the K-Electric shareholders,” the CJP said and asked that who Shan Ashri is? Is he a Pakistani? Shan Ashri, present in the courtroom, came up to rostrum and informed his full name is Shan Abbas Ashri and he a loyal Pakistani.

The bench was told that people in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have invested $400 million. The Chief Justice observed that the story does not end here as someone else is behind. He added that ultimately it would be divulged that they have connection in Mumbai.

Justice Gulzar said that everyone is taking advantage of the government’s weakness and there is lack of seriousness among the government departments. He further said that the K-Electric has hijacked the people and become master and is not providing relief to the people of Sindh. He continued that once again it has increased power price.

The K-Electric counsel informed that the federal government has increased the electricity price all over the country. He said that National Transmission & Dispatch Company and PTDC services are zero despite their budget is in billion of rupees.

Irked at the situation, the CJP said that all NEPRA and Power Division employees should be fired and there is no point of having such employees.

Justice Gulzar said that people were being allowed to exploit state institutions and the government does not have the capabilities. He added that all institutions are taking advantage of the government’s shortcomings.

He remarked that half of Karachi was without electricity at night. He said, “Everyday I get calls and messages saying load-shedding is happening three times a day.” He said that the power utility was a defaulter and should be sent to jail. He noted, “Provision of electricity is a basic right.” He added that a heavy fine could be imposed on the company.

At this, KE’s lawyer responded by saying that power supply had been affected during June and July due to a shortage of oil. Justice Faisal Arab said that over the passage of time Karachi has expanded, but the power generation for it not increased.

Later, the bench adjourned the hearing for four weeks in this matter.