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Pakistani government sets FIA on errant DisCos

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  • People skeptical of outcome, cite adage “Set A Thief To Catch A Thief”

ISLAMABAD: In the Pakistani government’s move to act stringently against employees of the government’s electricity distribution companies involved in electricity theft, to eliminate electricity theft from all of Pakistan by the April 23 deadline set by Federal Minister Awais Leghari’s Pakistan, the federal government has deployed Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) teams in 5 distribution companies to identify and arrest electricity officials involved in electricity theft.

To break the nexus between the employees of DISCOS with electricity thieves, the FIA has been deployed to Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federal Discos. The FIA has already been deployed to two Discos of Sindh and one in KP.

FIA officers recommended by the agency’s assistant directors general (ADGs) have been attached to CEOs of DISCOS in the anti-theft and recovery campaign helping to eliminate connivance of officials with consumers in electricity thefts, said a letter titled Strengthening Management in Distribution Companies written by the director general Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to the secretary Power Division. Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Power Division Awais Leghari has also warned Discos to eliminate power thefts by April 23.

The letter names Deputy Directors FIA, Muhammad Afzal Khan Niazi; Shabbir Ahmed Khan; Zawar Manzoor; Abdul Hayee Khan and Saeed Ahmed Memon deployed to Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO), Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO), Gujranwala Electric Power Regulatory Authority (GEPCO), Tribal Electric Supply Company (TESCO) and Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) respectively.

The additional director general of the FIA headquarters’ Anti-Corruption Wing (ACW) in Islamabad will be the focal person coordinating with the Ministry of Energy’s Power Division.

Minister Awais Leghari also instructed Superintending Engineers, Executive Engi­neers, Sub-divisional Officers and field staff to certify the absence of theft in their jurisdictions to ensure a robust verification process.

The federal government had directed the chief executive officers (CEOs) of all DisCos to provide affidavits certifying the end to electricity thefts in their jurisdiction and warned that incorrect information would result in dismissal from service.

When citizens were asked what they thought of the this arrangement by the government, 70 percent of those asked by NewsroomPakistan laughed and quipped the old adage “set a thief to catch a thief”, revealing they had no faith in the government’s FIA and said all government offices were corrupt to the core.

Once Informed, however, that there were several senior and responsible FIA and ministry officials monitoring the progress of the exercise, they relented somewhat and kept their fingers crossed.

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