KARACHI - The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday issued a notice to K-Electric (KE) chief Tayyab Tareen on Wednesday in a contempt of court application pertaining to unannounced loadshedding, until May 30.

A two-member bench headed Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi was hearing a contempt application moved by Karamat Ali and others seeking compliance of court order.

The petitioners’ counsel Barrister Faisal Siddiqui submitted that hours-long unannounced loadshedding has troubled the citizens of Karachi.

He pointed out that the Supreme Court in 2014 had directed the power utility not to resort to loadshedding in Ramazan and the KE was violating the apex court’s order by still carrying out loadshedding as major parts of the city plunged into darkness during sehri timings, and the Nepra is avoiding to take any action against the power supply company. Barrister Siddiqui argued that the KE did not increase its production capacity as per the agreement.

The petitioners submitted that over 1,000 people lost their lives and over 40,000 people were affected by the heatwave in Karachi and other parts of the province in 2015.

They sought enforcement of the fundamental rights and the law for the victims, the survivors and their families.

 The petitioners pleaded the court to issue direction to the provincial and the federal government to provide compensations to the heatstroke victims, and declare the heatstroke patients were entitled, as a fundamental right under the Constitution, to demand an appropriate compensation from the government.

He added that the residents of the metropolis have fallen victim to unprecedented and sporadic power cuts as KE and the Sui Southern Gas Company engage in a war of words over a low supply of gas to the electricity provider which has impeded the provision of electricity to consumers.

Earlier, the court had expressed grave displeasure over the failure of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to keep a vigilant eye on the power utility’s alleged malpractices.

The court had observed that that Nepra seemed to be not willing to take action against the power utility.

Petitioners’ counsel in his arguments had submitted that the power utility was legally bound to provide electricity to the consumers without any discrimination.

He argued that if there was power theft by some consumers in a locality, the whole population of the vicinity should not be punished by resorting to loadshedding to minimise the KE’s losses.

Advocate Siddiqui said that the KE instead of taking action against the power thieves was carrying out loadshedding to minimise its losses.