LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidates in Union Council 12 Mahay, Muridke, have accused local Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders of getting electricity transformers from their strongholds removed ahead of local government elections.
“On Thursday evening, a team of Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) removed transformers from Abad Ali Bhullar’s dera, Siri Rampura Station, Jawad Ahmed’s dera and Talib Hussain Bhulla’s dera,” Chaudhry Ghulam Mustafa, the PTI candidate for chairman, said.
An FIR was also registered against 20 peasants on the charge of water theft.
Mustafa said the LESCO had also disconnected supply to Natt village. He said the Irrigation Department had lodged the FIR against the peasants from Dharor at the behest of PML-N leaders. “They have been accused of stealing water… but there is no water in the canal these days so the question does not arise.”
He accused the PML-N candidates of victimising his voters. “They disconnected the supply on Thursday which was the last working day before three holidays so that we cannot immediately move a court,” Mustafa said. He said state machinery was being used for pre-poll rigging. “They are victimising our voters by depriving them of electricity supply,” he said.
“Sajjad Bhulla, the PML-N candidate for chairman, has sent a message to a voter asking him to vote for him if he wants electricity supply to be restored quickly,” he said. “Some of the voters have approached him. The PTI will be left with no supporters if people continue to contact Bhulla.”Sajjad Bhulla said that he was aware of only one transformer being removed from the area. “The transformer will hopefully be re-installed on Saturday. We are not victimising any PTI voters,” he said.
Sheikhupura District Returning Officer Azizur Rehman said he had received some complaints regarding the removal of transformers. “The LESCO has informed me that the transformers have been removed on account of electricity theft. Some people in the area have not paid their bills. The LESCO was left with no option but to remove the transformers,” Rehman said.
LESCO Executive Engineer Abbas Ali said no government functionary had asked the company to remove any transformers. “We removed them after we detected power theft.”
He said they had not lodged any FIR in this regard as police were busy with security arrangements for Muharram.
He said the LESCO would lodge FIRs “in a few days”.
Hassaan Ali Riaz, the PML-N MPA, said he had no knowledge about electricity supply being disconnected. “For all we know the PTI candidates might themselves have removed the transformers to win voters’ sympathies. If supply has been disconnected [over power theft], it should be restored after a proper procedure, including recovery of fines and bills,” he said.
Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer is a PML-N MNA in this area.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.