Lacking legal grounds: SHC dismisses plea on deaths from heatwave

Petitioner had sought action against federal, provincial govt, K-Electric

Our Correspondent June 25, 2015
Petitioner had sought action against federal, provincial govt, K-Electric. PHOTO: K-ELECTRIC

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) dismissed on Thursday a plea seeking action against the federal and provincial government and K-Electric (KE) for failing to provide electricity during the recent heatwave. The rising temperatures and prolonged power outages resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people in Karachi.

A division bench, comprising justices Munib Akhtar and Ashraf Jahan, refrained from passing any order observing that the plea lacked legal grounds to initiate proceedings. The issue of recent deaths was taken up in the court by a civil rights campaigner, Rana Faizul Hasan.

Hasan, the secretary-general of the United Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, had named the federal minister for privatisation, the chairpersons of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, the federal law secretary, the Sindh chief minister, chief secretary and the chief executive officer of KE as respondents.

Had the government and KE taken the issue of power outages seriously, the crisis would have been overcome, he argued.

The petitioner recalled that the Sindh Assembly had, on June 22, demanded strict action against the power utility for its failure to provide uninterrupted electricity and also declared it responsible for the loss of human lives. Apart from this, he added, the assembly had also demanded the KE compensate the families of each victim.

Referring to a 2013 report of the then KESC, Rana said that the company’s power generation capacity was 2,341 megawatts while the total demand of the city was 2,778MW with a shortfall of 437MW.

While another 600MW were being supplied from Tarbela Dam, the citizens are still being deprived of electricity for 10 to 15 hours every day, he said..

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.

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