An interesting development has taken place and the Standing Committee of the National Assembly on Law and Justice has approved a bill proposing harsh punishment to those involved in electricity theft. The bill provides for imposition of Rs 10 million as fine and up to three years imprisonment against big industrial and commercial connections involved in power theft. On use of domestic connections without a functional meter, a fine of Rs one million and imprisonment of up to one year has been recommended as a deterrent according to the bill titled Criminal Law (Amendment Bill 2012).

The question as always is whether there will be strict implementation of the bill. The authorities would now have no reason not to catch the bigwigs who have been stealing electricity. It is quite shocking –although it has been reported by the press a number of times that when it comes to this kind of theft, some of our top institutions and departments that we take pride in top the list. So far as recovery is concerned, Punjab has satisfactory figures to show as here the percentage is as high as 90 percent, while in Sindh it is dismally low; only 44 percent. Meanwhile, the scourge of circular debt keeps rising with the hour. Unfortunately the ruling dispensation has found in it the excuse to keep the country in continued state of darkness.