Power, gas dues: Notices issued to Lal Masjid administration

Four years after its demolition, Jamia Hafsa’s bills remain unpaid: IESCO.


Obaid Abbasi November 16, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


The capital’s power utility on Tuesday issued notices to the Lal Masjid (red mosque) head Maulana Abdul Aziz for non-payment of the electricity dues of Jamia Hafsa, a seminary for girls, which was demolished in 2007.


The notices were issued by the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) assistant collector to the Lal Masjid head seeking the recovery of over Rs0.5 million in dues against the defunct institute.

In the two separate notices of Rs283,605 and Rs234,866 Iesco authority directed Abdul Aziz to pay the dues within 20 days, otherwise he could be put behind bars.

When approached by The Express Tribune, Maulana Abdul Aziz, prayer leader of the mosque challenged the validity of the power company’s notices and categorically stated that he will not comply with them.

“I am surprised to see these notices were served by Iesco against Jamia Hafsa, which was demolished and there was no electricity meter there,’’ he added.

He claimed that around Rs1.7 million dues have been paid by his accounts section to Iesco over time and they have no liabilities at present as far as the electricity bills of the seminary were concerned.

Islamabad Chief Commissioner Tariq Mahmood Pirzada recently briefed a parliamentary panel that 89 mosques of the capital owed Rs15 million in gas and electricity dues including Lal Mosque.

The finance ministry was reluctant to release funds for the now devolved Auqaf Directorate, he said. Increases in the charges of utility bills and misuse of the funds by imams of the mosques were other factors, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2011.

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