After his departure from the government, former federal defense minister Khawaja Asif, in response to the electricity crisis and excessive bills, has taken to the forefront of public discourse through his social engagement platform . As a prominent figure from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Khawaja Asif has voiced his concerns about the escalating electricity crisis and advocated for measures to provide relief to consumers.
Khawaja Asif emphasized the need to increase the relief limit for consumers from 200 units to 300 units, suggesting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be approached for this purpose. He argued that if the monthly limit exceeds 200 units for even a single month in a year, the entire year’s benefit of relief is nullified. This proposal aims to prevent the loss of the relief benefit due to occasional spikes in consumption.
Drawing attention to the stark disparities in electricity pricing, Khawaja Asif pointed out that the price of electricity exceeding 200 billion rupees is not recorded in regions such as Azad Kashmir, FATA, and Balochistan. He further highlighted a systemic issue of electricity theft, estimating that over 650 billion rupees’ worth of electricity is stolen across the country, with major cities and markets experiencing theft rates of 70 to 80 percent. This burden ultimately falls on the average consumer.
Khawaja Asif proposed that the provision of free electricity should be discontinued in all government institutions above the 17-grade level. This recommendation underscores his stance on curbing subsidies and ensuring equitable distribution of electricity expenses.
Critiquing the federal government’s management of subsidies, Khawaja Asif pointed out that the government diverts more than 900 billion rupees to address subsidy theft, low collection rates, and line losses through the Power Sector Recovery Plan. He suggested that the same funds could be utilized to provide affordable electricity to the general public, reflecting his desire to channel resources effectively to benefit the common people.
Khawaja Asif’s engagement in public discourse, through his social media platform, has brought attention to critical issues surrounding the electricity crisis and pricing disparities in Pakistan. His proposals aim to address these challenges by increasing relief limits, combating electricity theft, and re-evaluating the distribution of subsidies. As discussions on these issues continue, the government’s response and potential policy changes will shape the direction of Pakistan’s energy sector and its impact on consumers.