Pakistan president’s home is one of 18 government buildings to have electricity cut off because of unpaid energy bills
- Final demand for arrears of more than £28,000 sent to Nawaz Sharif’s office
- Pakistan’s power ministry said it would cut off supplies to major offices
- Economy is crippled by persistent blackouts lasting up to 12 hours a day
- Influential families, politicians and bureaucrats do not pay for their use
- The poor often cannot afford rising utility bills
- Sharif promised to fix the power cuts as one of his priorities
The Pakistan president’s home is one of 18 government buildings to have electricity cut off because of unpaid energy bills.
Gas company officials said they shut off supplies on Sunday evening after sending a final demand to Nawaz Sharif’s office for arrears of more than £28,000.
Pakistan’s power ministry said today it would cut off supplies to major offices, including the prime minister’s in a crackdown on customers not paying their electricity bills.
Pakistan’s economy is crippled by persistent blackouts lasting up to 12 hours a day partly because influential families, politicians and bureaucrats do not pay for their use while the poor often cannot afford rising utility bills.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised to fix the power cuts as one of his priorities.
But today Pakistan’s minister of state for water and power said the campaign to eradicate non-
payment would now target his own office.
‘Electricity to all state institutions and individual consumers who haven’t cleared their dues will be
disconnected,’ Abid Sher Ali said in televised remarks.
‘There will be no discrimination.’
The minister, who is from the ruling party, said he had ordered the Islamabad Electricity Supply
Company to disconnect power to the President House, Prime Minister’s Secretariat, the parliament
building, the official residence of the chief justice and many other offices.
There was no immediate comment from those affected.
A spokesman for Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited said the prime minister’s residence and a string of other government buildings were cut off over bills totalling almost £100,000.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised to fix the power cuts as one of his priorities
Power cuts have worsened in Pakistan in recent years, becoming one of the main sources of discontent in the South Asian country, often leaving entire neighbourhoods without power for up to half a day in the sweltering summer months.
Pakistan’s state power companies are notoriously inefficient but critics have long questioned just how
far Sharif will be prepared to go to overhaul an important sector dominated by decades-long alliances, industry loyalties and lobby groups.
Targeting government offices as part of the campaign would send a powerful message to ordinary people in Pakistan that Sharif is serious about reform and that no one would be spared in his campaign against non-payment of bills.