JI files contempt petition against Mayor Karachi in SHC over municipal tax dispute

Petition seeks contempt proceedings against Mayor Karachi Wahab for municipal tax collection through K-Electric bills

Our Correspondent June 15, 2024


The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has filed a contempt of court petition against Mayor Karachi Barrister Murtaza Wahab, at the Sindh High Court (SHC) concerning the collection of municipal taxes through electricity bills.

The petition was submitted by Advocate Saifuddin, the opposition leader of JI, through Advocate Usman Farooq.

The petition claims that Mayor Wahab had previously submitted an affidavit regarding the establishment of a committee and the council's approval for municipal tax collection.

It explained that Mayor Wahab had assured that no additional deductions would be made by K-Electric besides service charges. He also guaranteed that consumers using less than 300 units of electricity would not be taxed.

The petition noted that on May 31, the municipal commissioner issued a notification for the committee's formation, with the mayor as the head and eight members on the committee.

On June 3, a dispute arose during the first meeting with the parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Despite assurances from the parliamentary leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to resolve the issue and hold the meeting the following day, Mayor Wahab conducted a meeting with PPP members on the same day without notifying the opposition parties.

On June 10, the municipal tax issue was not included in the city council meeting agenda. Moments before the meeting, the tax issue was added to the supplementary agenda. Mayor Wahab hastily presented the municipal tax resolution, causing chaos.

The petition pleaded that the mayor declared the resolution approved without a proper vote count.

It alleged that Wahab's decision violated the affidavit submitted to the court.

"By failing to comply with court orders, Mayor Wahab is guilty of contempt of court," the petition read. 

The petition, therefore, seeks contempt proceedings against Mayor Wahab and requests to halt the agreement between the mayor and K-Electric regarding municipal tax collection.

The consumers of Karachi faced an increase in electricity rates by up to Rs10 per unit, to be paid in four instalments, due to the provisional fuel cost adjustment for nine months of the financial year 2024, announced by the power regulator—the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on June 7.

These adjustments are a part of the regular process to align the cost of electricity with actual fuel expenses, ensuring transparency and fairness in energy billing. As per the power regulator, customers will receive a benefit in their bills when global fuel prices decrease.


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