Guess Who ‘Did Not’ Pay Their Electricity Bills?

Posted on July 4, 2010
Filed Under >Sehar Tariq, Economy & Development, Society
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Sehar Tariq

It’s the middle of the sweltering hot Summer in Pakistan and power tariffs have been raised yet again by the government. There is pressure from international lenders for Pakistan to raise these tariffs as they will help generate much needed money to invest in Pakistan’s poor energy infrastructure. The burden of the recent tariff increases obviously falls on the poor man and the average middle class Pakistani, as we recalibrate our electricity usage.

Across Pakistan, people fortunate enough to have electricity are afraid to use it because of the astronomical costs associated with it. Families all collect and squeeze into one room in the house in order to use only one air conditioner in the sweltering heat of Summer. And use of even that air conditioner is intermittent at best because of the frequent power outages. And then there are those who can barely even afford a fan which they cannot afford to turn on because the factory where they worked on hourly or daily wages suffers from frequent power outages and doesnt pay them what it used to. All of Pakistan – rich or poor – suffers.

Want to know how doesn’t suffer? The government, the armed forces and the judiciary.

Guess who hasn’t paid their bills? The government, the armed forces and the judiciary.

According to a news report published by the BBC the biggest defaulters on electricity bills in Pakistan are … drumroll … the government, the armed forces and the judiciary!

According to the report government institutions owe TWO BILLION DOLLARS in electricity bills. During a speech in parliament, the Minister for Water and Power Raja Parvez Ashraf revealed that:

  • The Defense Ministry which includes the three Armed Forces is the single biggest defaulter in the country. They owe about Rs. One Billion (Rs. 1,000 Million) to WAPDA.
  • The Presidency owes Rs. 20 Million.
  • The Supreme Court owes about Rs. 2.5 Million.

These were the highlights that were presented in the report but I am sure there are a host of other high profile offenders in the rosters of WAPDA.

And while we the common citizens – (whose taxes, I might add, pay the salaries for all of the defaulters noted above) – sit in the dark with sweat oozing out of every pore, our President, our military Chiefs and Lordships sit in air conditioned style. Tax payers have always paid the electricity bills for these people’s official and private residences but I guess we are now doing it at the expense of electricity in our own homes and at the expense of our economy.

Its was always kind of annoying to have government and the personnel of the armed forces have subsidized and unchecked use of electricity in their homes when common citizens barely have electricity in theirs. But to know that these institutions don’t even pay their bills despite having electricity provided to them at subsidized rates is worthy of a lot more anger and frustration.

Also, did I mention that according to the constitution of Pakistan, a person is not eligible for a seat in Parliament if they have defaulted on utility bills. And I’m sure the civil and military service have similar rules on default. Makes me wonder what this means for the President and the Minister of Defense – when the institutions that they head have unpaid bills.

Maybe some heads should roll? Or maybe we should just get the ball rolling on paying those bills?

And interestingly, all of this is happening as the government has launched a drive to get private defaulters to pay up or face jail time. So it would not be out of place for WAPDA to publish a list of top defaulters and take them to task first before going after the smaller fish. And maybe the government should clear its own dues first and then start putting into the jail the people who actually pay for the electricity that runs freely through the corridors of government, military and judicial power.

Sehar Tariq pays her electricity bills and I blog at Sehar Says.

21 responses to “Guess Who ‘Did Not’ Pay Their Electricity Bills?”

  1. خواجہ جمشید امام says:

    یہ اہم نہیں ہوتا کہ کون مارا گیالیکن یہ بہت ہی اہم ہی کہ کیوںمارا گیا ؟اسے کسی جرم میں قتل کیا گیا؟ اُس کا موقف کیا تھا ؟ اُسکے مطابات کیا تھے ؟ کیاوہ کسی ذاتی لڑائی میں مارا گیایا پھر وہ کسی اجتماعی لڑائی کا سپہ سالار تھا؟ اُسکا قاتل وہی ہے جو لیاقت علی خان،ڈاکٹر خان،ذوالققار علی بھٹواورمحترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو کا قاتل ہے ۔ہم سب اُسے جانتے ہیں پہچانتے ہیں لیکن ہمیشہ اُسے بے ضرر سمجھا کر نظر انداز کردیتے ہیںاور وہ بے رحم قاتل اپنی فسردگی ظاہر کرکے ہمارے بہترین لوگوں کو قتل کردیتا ہے ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔وہ ہے نظام ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔طبقاتی نظام جہاں قاتل اور مقتول کا فیصلہ طبقے کی بنیاد اور فوری عالمی ضروزت کے تحت کیا جاتا ہے۔

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