Who misled PM Kakar on free electricity issue?

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By Webdesk

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chairs a meeting on the economy in Islamabad on August 31, 2023. — PID
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chairs a meeting on the economy in Islamabad on August 31, 2023. — PID
  • Utility bills of SC, high courts judges paid by the government.
  • NAB chairman also enjoys the facilities include free electricity.
  • PM Kakar’s statement on free power units is not based on facts.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s statement that only Wapda’s employees, including retired ones, get free electricity and there is no such facility available for anyone else including judges, is not based on facts.

The prime minister appears to have been misinformed as not only the utility bills (including electricity bills) of the serving judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts are paid by the government but the retired ones also get free electricity up to 2000 units a month in case of an ex-SC judge and 800 units a month in case of a former high court judge.

Not only this, the serving president and prime minister enjoy free utilities including free electricity without any limits but in the case of the ex-president, he is provided 2000 units a month of electricity at the cost of taxpayers’ money.

NAB chairman also enjoys the facilities like that of a Supreme Court judge, which include free electricity. There is no confirmation of what the prime minister has claimed about services’ chiefs.

President’s Salary, Allowance and Privileges Act, 1975 as amended in 2018 says in Section 7 that the actual charges for electricity and gas consumption shall be paid in each year to the president.

The President’s Pension Act envisages the provision of electricity to the extent of monthly consumption of 2000 units, gas to the extent of monthly consumption of 10 HM3 and water.

In October 2020, Justice Faez Isa and his wife released income tax and asset details in which it was clearly written that post retirement benefits of a Supreme Court judge include 2000 units of electricity, 25 HM of gas, water and 300 litres of petrol per month.

High Court Judges (Leave, pension, privileges) order 1997 not only talks about the payment by government for provision of electricity gas and water but also says in Section 28 that a judge on retirement and after his death, the spouse shall be entitled to certain benefits including 800 units of electricity per month as well as 25 HM3 of gas per month.

All those quasi judicial public offices including the offices of NAB chairman, federal ombudsman etc where retired judges, or retired civil servants are appointed, the residence utility bills are also paid from the public kitty.

According to a NAB document, “i) Chairman NAB shall be entitled without payment of rent to the use of a residence provided by the Government throughout his term of office maintained at Government expenses with all utilities to be paid on actual basis by the Government. ii) In case of non-availability of Government accommodation or the Chairman chooses to reside in a private residence, the expenses on maintenance and all utilities as per actual, will be paid by the Government, in addition to house rent allowance.”

Originally published in The News

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