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ISLAMABAD: A federal minister of Pakistan who once volunteered to ensure recovery of the entire electricity dues from defaulters has turned out to be one of the biggest defaulters and has not paid a single penny on this account over the past 56 months.
But unlike other domestic consumers who face disconnection if they do not pay their electricity bills on time, this man who lives in the ‘Ministers Enclave’ continues to enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
According to electricity bills issued by the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco), Interior Minister Rehman Malik tops the list of federal ministers who have failed to clear their dues amounting to Rs4.9m.
He has not paid his bills since moving to House 34 in the capital’s Ministers Enclave.
Until February 13, arrears against his official residence stood at Rs4.75m.
His monthly bill for February alone is Rs153,788 which is also unpaid. The outstanding amount increased to Rs4.92m which included a Rs12,000 late payment surcharge.
Under perks and privileges enjoyed by federal ministers and advisers, the federal government provides a monthly allowance of Rs24,000 and any excess has to be paid by the minister or adviser.
But it appears that several ministers take the allowance but do not clear electricity bills.
Malik’s average monthly bill for 56 months works out at about Rs89,000.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the total amount owed to government departments by distribution companies hovers around Rs170bn.
On June 15, 2012, Malik offered asked a nine-member cabinet committee to give him an opportunity to recover all electricity arrears.
“Leave it to me, I will sort them out and correct their system. I will ensure 100 percent recovery and reduction in loadshedding,” he had told the committee headed by then finance minister Hafeez Shaikh.