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Senators flay KESC for not responding to queries

31 January, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Legislators in the Upper House on Wednesday expressed anger over the KESC management's failure to respond (in writing) to the queries raised in Senate during the last eight months, and referred the matter to the privilege committee; besides adopting a motion over it.

During the question-hour, ANP's Senator Zahid Khan said the KESC management had failed to reply to the questions the Senate had asked.

Senators were further infuriated after State Minister for Water and Power Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi said that the ministry had contacted the management of the KESC, but they could not respond.

He proposed taking appropriate measures against the company, and said the management should be forced to ensure that parliamentarians' directives were implemented.

Both the opposition and the ruling benches spoke against the only privatised power distribution company.

They condemned the attitude of the company's chief and said that the management considered itself above the constitution, parliament and legislators.

Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power Chairman Zahid Khan informed the House that the committee had asked the KESC MD to attend the committee's meeting and remove all concerns, but he did not pay heed to the directives.

After several meeting, the committee decided to issue warrants against the MD, but he got a stay order from the Sindh High Court.

He also explained that though an official warrant had not been issued by the Senate Secretariat, the KESC got the stay order just on media reports.

Leader of the Opposition in Senate Ishaq Dar said that the matter should be referred to the Law Ministry and take its input in this regard.

He said that all legal requirements should be fulfilled before the House took any stern action against the KESC MD.

Law Minister Farooq H Naek speaking on the occasion said his ministry was unaware of the warrant and the stay order by the court.

"If the matter is referred to the Law Ministry, we will look into it and respond to the House. All facts and figures should be provided to the ministry. However, there is no law regarding punishment to any institution/organisation if it breaches the privilege of a committee or Senate," he said, adding that the matter required legislation.

Federal Minister for Political Affairs Maula Bakhsh Chandio questioned the legality of the stay order by the court. "The judiciary is not attending the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) meetings to clear its accounts, and now is stopping others through stay orders," he added.

The minister said the judiciary in Pakistan had been politicised. "They are now issuing political statements and not allowing the government to perform its duties," he said.

"How will good governance be ensured when the prime minister cannot change any officer; parliamentarians cannot call anyone over several corruption cases?" he questioned.

After presenting a report of the commerce committee and laying the paper of the Annual Report of the Council of Common Interests, the House suspend the rules and adopted a motion, and only discussed matters relating to the KESC.

The senators suggested presenting the actual copy of the agreement between the government and the KESC. They said the KESC management was not appearing in the parliamentary committee because it had failed to fulfil its responsibilities. They also said the company had adopted anti-worker policies.

End.

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