Equal rights: Ban all load-shedding exemptions, LHC asked

Replies sought from Lesco and Pepco.

Our Correspondent July 19, 2012


The Lahore High Court on Thursday sought replies from the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) and the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) on a plea against exemptions from electricity load shedding granted to VVIPs.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed against “VIP and VVIP culture” in Pakistan. His counsel AK Dogar also filed a civil miscellaneous application on Thursday challenging an alleged exemption on power outages granted to “the ruling class”.

Dogar argued that all citizens were equal before the law and no special privilege could be granted to anyone under the Constitution. He said the loadshedding exemption for VIPs and VVIPs was a violation of the fundamental rights of other citizens. He asked that the exemption be withdrawn and all citizens be treated equally in terms of power distribution.

The court directed Pepco and Lesco to file replies to the plea by July 23, when the next hearing will take place.

In the main petition, Hafiz Saeed has sought a declaration from the court that “VIP and VVIP culture” was a legacy of the colonial era and violated the constitutional provisions for equality and social and economic justice and the principle of democracy as enunciated by Islam.

He said the closing of roads for VIPs was a violation of fundamental rights. He said asking a citizen to step aside for the passage of a VIP cavalcade was a violation of rights enshrined in Article 9 and Article 8(2) of the Constitution.

Saeed said schools like Aitchison College must open their gates to the children of the poor and rich and poor must sit in the same class rooms and study the same syllabus. He said no privilege of any kind including free electricity, gas, petrol or telephone should be provided to any person from the public exchequer.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2012.