Residents of ‘Bahria Enclave’ hold protest against inflated electricity bills and poor security

Islamabad Telegraph Report

ISLAMABAD: Poor security, inflated electricity and utility bills and unjustified ouster of hundreds of security guards were among the burning issues which prompted residents of Bahria Enclave, an upscale residential society in Islamabad, Pakistan’s Capital.

In an unprecedented move, residents of Bahria Enclave staged a protest demonstration against the “unjust and illegal” hike in electricity bills and the ouster of more than 200 security guards by the Bahria Enclave on Saturday.

Hundreds of families including women and children gathered in front of the Bahria Enclave’s head office and demanded the management “revoke the excessive increase in electricity bills” and improve security of the society by restoring the security guards.

Protesters held banners and placards and chanted slogans against the management of Bahria Enclave against the “unjust and illegal” increase in electricity tariff.

The demonstration was led by the Society of Bahria Enclave Residents (SOBER), which is a representative body of the residents.

Speaking on the occasion, SOBER President Iftikhar Kazmi, Vice President Tariq Farad and General Secretary Anwar Usmani said the residents will not pay the electricity charges unless “the excessive increase” in the bills, which are in violation to NEPRA and IESCO rates per unit, are not revoked.

They said additional charges under “tariff adjustment” in the bills have neither been approved by NEPRA nor IESCO. The SOBER representatives demanded the management improve security and control increasing incidents of theft and dacoity in the society.

“We are here to protest against inflated electricity bills and poor security. While the burglars are rampage to deprive the residents of Bahria Enclave from their valuables, the administration of society is on spree to empty the pockets of residents by sending inflated electricity bills. As you have observed, it is an unprecedented protest and we will not let the management of society to empty our pockets,” Tariq Farad told a correspondent of Islamabad Telegraph.

Residents of Bahria Enclave told Islamabad Telegraph’s correspondent that management of Bahria Enclave was sending inflated bills to collect cash only to pay the fine against encroachment of government land across Pakistan.

In March 2019, The Supreme Court had accepted Bahria Town Karachi’s Rs460 billion offer for the lands it occupies in the Malir district of Karachi and restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from filing references against it.

According landmark verdict, Bahria Town Karachi will have to pay the entire amount over seven years. In its ruling, the top court ordered Bahria Town Karachi to pay Rs25 billion by August 2019. From September onward, it will have to pay monthly instalments of Rs2.25bn for the next three years. If the company fails to deposit two instalments, Bahria Town Karachi will be considered a defaulter.

After three years, it will have to pay a four per cent markup in case of late instalments. The company will also be required to give a 99-year lease to everyone who purchased a plot in Bahria Town Karachi housing project and will mortgage parks, cinemas and other assets owned by it.

Bahria Town’s counsel sought a period of seven and a half years to make the full payment, and also asked the court to allow the payments to be made to the Sindh government.

“Bahria Enclave’s management wants us to pay for their faults and wrongdoings and we will not let them do it,” Samina Yousuf, another protestor told Islamabad Telegraph.

A spokesperson of Bahria Enclave Islamabad didn’t reply when asked for comments.

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