JI files a contempt petition against Mayor Karachi at SHC over a municipal tax dispute

Petition seeks contempt proceedings against Mayor Karachi Wahab for collecting municipal taxes through K-Electric accounts

KARACHI:

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) against Karachi Mayor Advocate Murtaza Wahab regarding collection of municipal taxes through electricity bills.

The petition was filed by JI Opposition Leader Advocate Saifuddin through Advocate Usman Farooq.

The petition claims that Mayor Wahab had earlier filed an affidavit regarding the establishment of a committee and the approval of the municipality for the collection of municipal taxes.

It explained that Mayor Wahab had assured that K-Electric would not make any additional deductions in addition to the service costs. He also guaranteed that consumers who use less than 300 units of electricity would not be taxed.

The petition notes that the municipal commissioner issued a notice on May 31 for the formation of the committee, with the mayor as the head and eight members in the committee.

On June 3, a dispute arose during the first meeting with the parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Despite assurances from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) parliamentary leader to resolve the issue and hold the meeting the next day, Mayor Wahab held a meeting with PPP members on the same day without informing the opposition parties .

On June 10, the topic of municipal tax was not on the agenda of the municipal council meeting. Just before the meeting, the tax issue was added to the additional agenda. Mayor Wahab hurriedly presented the municipal tax resolution, causing chaos.

The petition argued that the mayor had approved the resolution without properly counting the votes.

It claimed that Wahab’s decision contradicted the affidavit submitted to the court.

“By failing to comply with court orders, Mayor Wahab is guilty of contempt of court,” the petition said.

The petition therefore seeks contempt proceedings against Mayor Wahab and requests to terminate the agreement between the mayor and K-Electric on the collection of municipal taxes.

Karachi’s consumers faced an increase in electricity tariffs by up to Rs10 per unit, payable in four installments, following the provisional fuel cost adjustment for nine months of the fiscal year 2024 announced by the energy regulator – the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on June 7.

These adjustments are part of the regular process of aligning electricity costs with actual fuel costs, ensuring transparency and fairness in energy billing. According to the energy regulator, customers will receive a benefit on their bills if global fuel prices fall.