Prolonged power outages Court orders arrest of defiant officials

Prolonged power outages Court orders arrest of defiant officials

Peshawar High Court

PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday issued bailable warrants for the arrest of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) chairman and the National Power Control Centre (NPCC) managing director over failure to show up despite its orders.

It also ordered the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) chief executive to produce the record of unscheduled loadshedding in different parts of the province.Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan, who was part of the bench along with Justice Khalid Mahmood, had taken a suo motu notice of power outages across the province early in June after the incident of firing and baton charge on people protesting excessive loadshedding in Bannu district.

During the last hearing, the Pesco chief executive held the NPCC responsible for unscheduled loadshedding, saying the Company had nothing to do with the prolonged power outages in different parts of the province. The court then summoned the NTDC chairman and the NPCC managing director.On Wednesday, the bench fixed for July 24 the next hearing into the case asking the relevant police station to ensure production of the two on the next hearing.Also, a delegation of the Bannu Chamber of Commerce appeared before the bench with complaints about issuance of inflated bills by the Pesco after protest against excessive loadshedding.

They said they had approached the relevant officers for corrective measures but in vain.The bench directed the superintendent engineer of the Pesco, Bannu, to correct inflated bills and observed that strict action ould be initiated against the relevant officials if the directions were not complied with.Also in the day, the bench issued bailable warrants for the arrest of the National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, director general and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, director over failure to appear before it.

The bench had earlier directed the NAB director general and the FIA director to investigate the allegation of illegal conversion of natural gas into liquefied petroleum gas at the gas wells in Gurguri area of Karak district.The chief justice took a suo motu notice of the allegations a few months ago while hearing different petitions related to suspension of natural gas supply.

When the bench took up the case, the said two officials were absent leading to adjournment of the hearing for a few hours with the direction to a state counsel to inform the two about turning up in person.Later when the bench resumed hearing, the state counsel said all roads leading to the high court were blocked due to protests against loadshedding.However, the court rejected the statement observing that the roads had been re-opened to traffic.The bench issued bailable warrants for the arrest of the two while directing police to produce them on the next hearing. The schedule for the hearing will be announced later, it added.