ISLAMABAD - After facing severe criticism from the opposition benches in National Assembly, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority on Wednesday finally constituted a fact finding committee on Karachi crisis where over 1000 people have died of heatwave fuelled by long spells of power cuts.

PTI lawmaker Asad Umar in his speech said that one of the major reasons of the present power crisis is the appointments of departmental heads on nepotism. He demanded the government to end this culture where key posts in power sector are filled with relatives and cronies.

Like other departments related to electricity, the Nepra is also under strong criticism for alleged nepotism as far as key appointments in the department are concerned. The members were reportedly appointed on the basis of nepotism and cronyism as they have no knowledge or previous experience of running the regulatory authority, mandated to regulate whole electricity generation, distribution and network system. Khwaja Naeem, who is brother-in-law of PML-N stalwart Khwaja Asif, was solely appointed on the promise to validate all instructions of the sitting government. While talking to this scribe, Water and Power Minister Khwaja Asif has admitted that Khwaja Naeem is his brother-in-law.

“Yes, Khawaja Naeem is my brother-in-law; but the Authority is a complete independent organisation,” the minister said.

To a surprise to many, Khwaja Asif had revealed massive irregularities and hinted at corruption in privatisation of K-Electric. Being a regulator, it was duty of the Authority to intervene and check the agreement, but it never performed its primary job.

Not only K-Electric but the Nepra has also been alleged for endorsing the decisions to please the sitting government including world’s most lucrative coal tariff, allowing the revival of most notorious rental power plants.

According to sources, the Authority is set to allow a new tax on electricity under gas infrastructure charges. It is also set to offer most exorbitant tariff to a Chinese firm CMEC, in addition to the existing lucrative tariff. Experts are justified to ask as to why the Nepra has been failing to increase power generation, which usually ranges between 15000-16000 MW maximum, when the electricity installed capacity is more than 20000 MW. If the country’s installed capacity can produce enough energy, then why the Authority is offering exorbitant tariffs to new plants.

Nepra chairman Tariq Sadozai was not available to comment despite many calls; however, spokeswoman Ayesha Tassaduq negated all the accusations. She said that the Authority is monitoring the Karachi situation closely and has already taken notice of different issues including underutilisation and undue loadshedding.

The proceedings are pending before the Sindh High Court being strongly defended by the Nepra.

“We have constituted a four-member fact finding committee which is mandated to proceed to Karachi immediately,” she said adding that the committee would ascertain the causes pertaining to the recent power shortfall and claims of KE.