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Pakistan

ECP suspends Punjab CM's electricity scheme till by-polls

  • Hamza Shehbaz had announced free electricity for consumers in the province using up to 100 units a month
Published July 7, 2022

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suspended on Thursday Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz’s Roshan Gharana Programme till July 17, Aaj News reported.

On Monday, Hamza had announced the programme which aimed to provide free electricity for households consuming up to 100 units from July. He said that the Punjab government will bear the utility expenses.

Households using up to 100 units of power to get free electricity: CM Hamza Shehbaz

However, the ECP had imposed a ban on initiating any development projects until the by-polls were held. In this regard, the commission had also sent a notice to the Punjab government.

The ECP sought Hamza's reply for his alleged violation of the electoral code of conduct by announcing free electricity.

On Thursday, a three-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja heard the matter. Hamza’s counsel, Khalid Ishaq submitted his reply and told the bench that the programme was a part of the provincial budget announced in June.

Free electricity: Hamza follows in Kejriwal’s footsteps

He also informed the bench that the programme did not cover the constituencies where by-elections would be held.

The CEC questioned the need to make a new announcement when it was already included in the budget.

Subsequently, the ECP bench suspended the programme till July 17 when by-elections will be held for 20 Punjab Assembly seats.

Earlier, announcing the electricity relief package, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz had said that free electricity will be provided to all the electricity consumers of the province using 100 units for which the Punjab government has earmarked Rs100 billion.

The Punjab government will pay the bills of more than nine million families using 100 units of electricity, he said then. “About half of the population of the province will be provided free electricity from this month and the Punjab government will pay the bills in August.”


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