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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has been approached against the huge Fuel Adjustment Charges (FAC) in the electricity bills, which have forced people to come on roads.

Advocate Zulfiqar Bhutta on Wednesday filed a petition in the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, saying due to heavy taxes in the electricity bills people all over Pakistan are facing massive problems.

Power Minister Khurram Dastgir at a press conference in Karachi, said that the recently-announced exemption for FAC in August’s billing will only apply to consumers who use under 200 units of electricity.

Bhutta stated the government has imposed heavy taxes on the electricity bills which has made the lives of the poor miserable. The inflated bills have destroyed the peace of the poor people, he added.

The petitioner submitted that due to inflated bills particularly the months of July and August people have started protests all over the country, burning their bills and vowed not to deposit the bill unless the FAC and other taxes are not withdrawn and new bills issued after excluding the taxes.

He stated that the majority of people in Pakistan earn Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 per month, adding if they pay Rs10,000 as house rent and Rs10,000 to Rs15,000 in bills then how they would provide food to their families. He said even the lower middle-class families whose monthly income is Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 are disturbed because of the huge amount of the FAC in the electricity bills.

The petitioner submitted that an impression is given by the incumbent government that the increase in electricity price is due to the IMF pressure. He contended on the one hand poor families’ lives have been made miserable due to the huge taxes in the utility bills particularly, electricity bills, and on the other hand, salaries, perks and privileges of the top officials have been increased manifold, besides they are provided free fuel, medical facilities, and electricity units.

Bhutta stated that the gulf between the poor and rich is widening as the poor people have been burdened with more taxes, while facilities are enhanced for the upper class. It mentioned that this practice is against Article 11 of the Constitution.

The petitioner stated that due to inflation in the country more and more people are compelled to send their children to do menial jobs. He said that Article 25 talks about the equality of citizens, but it is not being followed. He maintained that due to inflated bills and inflation people are not able to send their children to school.

He stated Article 37 provides for the promotion of social justice and eradication of social evils but due to unjustified heavy financial burden in the form of inflated electricity bills the Article is rendered impractical.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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