KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) has summoned the municipal secretary, power secretary and finance secretary over the non-payment of Rs580 million dues to K-Electric (KE) by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). The petition was heard on Monday by a divisional bench comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah at the Karachi registry.
Justice Shah remarked that government institutions have installed air conditioners even in washrooms, but the KMC has not paid electricity bills for years. "Why are lavish expenditures made when there are no resources?"
Counsel for KMC, Advocate Sameer Ghazanfar, maintained that the funds given by the Sindh government were spent on paying salaries to the employees. "We are tired of asking the government for resources," he said, adding that how could the bills be paid when even the doctors at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital were paid salaries after four months.
Justice Shah remarked that this had become a habit now and that KMC should be shut down once and for all, which seemed to be the only solution. "How will KE run if such heavy sum of bills is not paid," said Justice Shah.
Justice Baqar in his remarks, said, "We ask the Sindh government to make direct payments". To this, Advocate Ghazanfar replied, "Don't do that. The Sindh government will deduct that amount from our funds."
Counsel for KE, Abid Zuberi, said that the arrears had exceeded Rs580m, wondering how much longer would this continue. "The government should be directed to pay the dues," he maintained.
The court summoned the municipal secretary, power secretary and finance secretary on April 10.
"All three secretaries should appear before the court and suggest a recommendation to get rid of this problem," remarked the court and adjourned the hearing.
Appointment of KU director
The same bench issued notice to University of Karachi (KU) Vice Chairman (VC) and several others over a petition against the appointment of KU's Marine Biology Department director.
The counsel for the petitioner maintained that appointment of Professor Ghazala was against the rule. The court, issuing notice to the VC and several others, sought response and adjourned the hearing.
The same bench accepted the bail plea of Muhammad Khan in the murder case of a Sujawal resident. The counsel for accused maintained that Sattar Jamali was murdered in 2017 in Chohar Jamali area and the case registered against Muhammad Khan was baseless The court, against a surety of Rs200,000, accepted the pre-arrest bail of the accused.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2019.