The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down hard on the Sindh government, municipal authorities and K-Electric, the primary supplier of electricity to Karachi, over the deaths of dozens of people due to electrocution during recent rains in the metropolis.
A three-judge larger bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed was hearing a number of applications regarding various civic issues in Karachi at the apex court’s Karachi registry.
Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah were the other members of the bench.
Justice Arab during the hearing noted that 22 children had died after suffering electric shocks during the recent rains in Karachi and other parts of Sindh but that the deaths had had no impact on the power utility.
“Why were the electricity providers not grabbed by the collar over these many deaths?” Justice Ahmed asked the top Sindh law officer.
“Action has been taken against K-Electric,” the Sindh advocate general responded.
But the bench remained unconvinced, with Justice Ahmed wondering what alternative the city would have if the Abraaj Group, which holds stakes in K-Electric, forgoes the company.
He said, “K-Electric makes a profit of Rs50 million in exchange for five paisa”. The company also “sold all the copper wires” and replaced them with Aluminum cables, Justice Ahmed added.
Justice Arab observed that people usually do not die from electrocution in any modern city.
Justice Ahmed further said that Karachi’s authorities and the Sindh government had “completely failed” to fulfill their responsibilities.
He noted that the federal government has now taken up the task of cleaning Karachi.