Over the years, I have written at least ten ST articles on the power crisis, which has gripped Karachi and the nation for the last 12 years. In the articles, I have narrated how a group of concerned citizens had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 98 against PTC, KWSB and KESC, for failing to provide the services for which they were established. Since then, I have continued to follow the twisted and crooked trail of KESC and have interacted with most of MDs, senior managers and engineers of the organization, including the late Shahid Hamid and Frank Scherschmidt and have yet to find a suitable or appropriate explanation for its failure. In October last year, I had thought that I had finally reached the end of the trail, when the KESC had announced a massive increase in its tariffs. There was a huge hue and cry from all quarters of the country, including industrialists, commercial and domestic consumers. Violent protests, burning of tires and attacks on KESC complaint centers were witnessed all over the country and emergency meetings were held at FPCCI, KCCI and SITE Association. Chest thumping, fiery speeches were made and ultimatums and threats of closing down industry were given by the business leaders, if the electricity tariffs were not reduced within three days. A resolution was passed at a FPCCI meeting, which demanded: 'The privatization of KESC should be examined and the terms and conditions should be made public - The, agreement should be cancelled and increase in the electricity rates of KESC should be kept in abeyance - All industries and business houses in Karachi should pay the electricity bills on the old rates. In another meeting at the SITE Ass. office, in which Sindh Industries Minister, Rauf Siddiqui, was also present and heard harsh speeches of business leaders on the damaging impact of the rise in electricity tariff on industry and that it would be the last straw that would break the industrys back. 'Unless the government takes immediate steps, factories would be forced to close down. This would result in thousands of workers loosing their jobs, create a law and order situation and the loss of valuable foreign exchange. Zubair Mottiwala, now Advisor to the CM, had read out a resolution: 'Power bills of September, with enhanced tariff, should not be paid by consumers till a final decision is reached. The resolution was endorsed by all the members, including the minister. I had also suggested that consumers should stop paying their bills and deposit payments in the courts, till KESC improves its services, which of course was vetoed. I remember attending similar meetings with all the three organizations in 98, when Karachi was going through a similar crisis, where I had submitted the same proposals. They were of course ignored and finally, we had to file an appeal in the SC of Pakistan. It is strange, how we never learn from our mistakes and how history repeats itself in Pakistan. And as twelve years back, secret deals have been made, new advisors to the President, PM, Governor and CM have been appointed and it is business as usual. The gale force wind, which had threatened to shut down industry, has lost its strength in just nine months and it is the ordinary citizens and the sick and the young and old, who have to suffer the hot, dry desert winds in the dark nights. For the record, I wish to add that I had met the top management officers of the Abraaj group in October 08, after my Dawn TV clash with Mr. Basharat Cheema of Wapda, and had asked the CEO of Abraaj as to why have they risked their lucrative careers and jumped on board a sinking ship, which has been mismanaged for two decades, riddled with corruption and had cost the life of the late Shahid Hamid, former MD, KESC and sunk the reputation of many good men? Their reply was, that they were fully aware of the problems, but they had all done well for themselves and felt it was time to pay back something in return to the nation. Nobel thoughts no doubt, but now it seems that they have not been so 'honest and straightforward. In a recent program on 'The Power Crisis, which I had organized on the Pulse with Jasmine on Business Plus, Tanzeem Naqvi, former MD, KESC, had bluntly stated that the KESC management was 'lying and that the present power crises is administrative and financial and not technical: 'The management is not spending any money for the purchase of furnace oil, even when it has reduced from Rs.60,000 to Rs.20,000 / Ton. The generating Units are not running on full capacity and power is not being purchased from IPPs as per their full capacity. As such, the gap between supply and demand has widened, leading to the worst load shedding the city has ever faced. And G. R. Bhatti, a former Chief Engineer, KESC, had stated: 'There are many 'No Go areas of the city that are hooked to 'kundas or illegal connections, including many commercial and industrial users, who do not pay for what they actually consume, by 'adjusting their bills with the help of the KESC staff. To compensate these losses, KESC passes this short fall in revenue, due to its own mismanagement, inefficiency, theft, etc., on to the consumers through tariff increases and other charges in its billing, including a 'late payment and fuel adjustment charges, WH tax, GST, TV license fee, etc. Jasmine had also questioned the role of NEPRA and the Board of Directors of KESC, whose past members have included luminaries such as Muzafar Ali Shah, a former governor, Sindh, Shaukat Tarin, presently Fed. Min. of Finance, Ikthiar Baig, Advisor to the PM, Jahngir Siddqui, a wise kid in money matters and others. She asked as to why they had failed to check KESCs performance and protect the interests of its shareholders and the consumers and allowed this important utility service to the verge of collapse? 'All have done well for themselves, but do not seem to have done a good job as Directors of KESC. Will anybody be held accountable for KESCs mess or will more 'Advisors be appointed and will it be business as usual? The recent 'total blackout of the city is just an example of the shortcomings of KESC and the worst is yet to come. According to our information, the city will face prolonged power breakdowns during the monsoon season, as KESC does not have sufficient spare parts. If things are not put right soon, then it will be the end of this city, which also happens to be the economic backbone of Pakistan. Keeping this in view, Helpline Trust is once again filing a petition against NEPRA and KESC through Advocate, Javed Siddqi of Law Foundation. We have circulated over three thousand emails and faxes, requesting citizens to participate in the petition, but so far, the response has been pathetic. It seems that our 'privileged and enlightened members of civil society, who moan and groan the most, are quite happy to 'rage at the darkness, then to light a candle in the night. JAGO AWAM JAGO. E-mail: trust@super.net.pk