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Articles

Using Electricity to Print Money, Bahria Style

Residents up in arms against the wayward ways of the Bahria Enclave exclusive housing development, a poster child of property tycoon Malik Riaz’s Bahria Town

Residents of upscale residential development in Islamabad staged a protest demonstration a few days ago against what they called an “unjust and illegal” hike in electricity bills. Another grievance they voiced was the alleged ouster of more than 200 security guards by the Bahria Enclave gated community in Pakistan’s Capital.

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.

The demonstration was led by the Society of Bahria Enclave Residents (SOBER), which is a representative body of the residents. Protesters held banners and placards and chanted slogans against the “unjust and illegal” increase in electricity tariff by the management of Bahria Enclave.

The Truth International tried to contact the officials of Bahria Town for their point of view in this regard but they flatly declined to comment on the matter, maintaining no such protest demonstration had been staged.

This is not the first time that Bahria Town has been accused of wrongdoing although it is rare for such accusations to trigger a law and order situation.

Residents of Bahria Enclave at the demon- stration said they would not pay the electricity bills unless “the excessive increase” in the bills is reversed.

The bills have neither been approved by NEPRA nor IESCO. Protesters said they constituted a violation to NEPRA and IESCO rates per unit.

Some residents said that the management of Bahria Enclave was sending inflated bills to collect cash only to pay the fine against the encroachment of government land across Pakistan.

In March 2019, the Supreme Court had accepted Bahria Town Karachi’s PKR 460 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 to the 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 PKR 25 billion by August 2019.

From September onward, it will have to pay monthly instalments of PKR 2.25bn 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 installments.

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 has been considered the most influential, an ideal housing society with a gated community proving the basic amenities of life. Residents of these societies not only include well-heeled people but most of them belong to the business and elite class.

Bahria Town first developed society in Islamabad and later moved projects to other big cities of country like Lahore and Karachi. Bahria Town started another housing scheme in the Heart of Islamabad by the name of Bahria Enclave.

Bahria Enclave was developed as per the European standard in 2011 on the basis of demarcation carried out by patwaris and senior officials of CDA.

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