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SHC restricts collection of KMC taxes with electricity bills for now

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  • SHC remarks applying municipal charges via KE is inappropriate.
  • Says it will restore tax collection if city administration satisfies it.
  • Restricts KMC from collecting taxes under KE bills till next hearing.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday temporarily restricted the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) from collecting municipal taxes with electricity bills.

The court remarked that the tax collection will be restored when the city administration satisfies it over the matter.

The directive came during the hearing of a plea filed on September 23, by Jamat-e-Islami leader Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, against KMC’s tax collection in K-Electric bills.

Under the Sindh Local Government Act 2021, the provincial government had in April directed the power utility to collect municipal utility charges and taxes (MUTC).

As per an agreement signed between the KMC and K-Electric (KE), the former aims to earn an estimated Rs3 billion yearly by collecting MUCT, through KE’s power bills.

Under the agreement, the power utility would keep 7% of the amount as its collection charges, which amounts to Rs300 million.

An official of the KMC said the KE would collect the tax from 24 million units across the city. 

Today’s hearing

During today’s hearing, Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab informed the court that the KMC taxes range from Rs50 to Rs200, requesting the court not to restrict the tax collection now. He assured the court of presenting all the details at the next hearing.

“Taxes as high as Rs5,000 have been waived and reduced to Rs200,” he said.

At this, the court told Wahab to make recoveries through third parties.

“Make the recoveries however you want but not through KE,” it remarked.

The court also restricted KE not to cut off power connections of consumers who are unable to pay the taxes.

“Earlier, the taxes were going to someone else’s pockets but now KMC will receive it,” Wahab contended.

When asked about what facilities the city administration would give to the citizens in exchange of taxes, Wahab said that the taxes will be used in construction of roads, underpasses and bridges.

“Will you do all [your] work with people’s money?” the court inquired.

“The Centre is giving a lot of money to the province. Karachi is provided with funds like alms (bheek),” Justice Hassan Azhar Rizvi.

He rebuked Wahab referring to the dilapidation of roads and other infrastructural faults and increasing robberies in the city.

At this, Wahab said that KMC has the responsibility of 209 roads.

“If you are doing all of the work then what is the Sindh government doing?” the justice asked.

He objected to why “double charges” are imposed on the people when they are already paying property and motor vehicle taxes.

“Applying municipal charges through KE is not appropriate,” the court remarked while restricting KMC from collecting the municipal taxes with electricity bills till the next hearing. 

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Saudi Arabia rewards brave police officer ASP Shehrbano with a royal pension.

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Sources claim that when the two met at the Saudi embassy, where the ambassador was entertaining the courageous female officer, the diplomat gave ASP Shehrbano the information.

The Saudi ambassador praised the police officer’s bravery and assured her that her family’s travel expenses to Saudi Arabia as a royal guest will be covered by the Saudi royal family.

He gave the ASP high marks for her poise and selfless dedication to her work in managing an agitated environment.

One day before, the Gulberg ASP visited the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Syed Asim Munir, at General Headquarters.

The head of the army acknowledged the significant contribution Pakistani women made to society as a whole.

He was cited as adding, “Since independence, Pakistani women have made a name for themselves both at home and abroad thanks to their skill, perseverance, and determination.

Additionally, ASP Shehrbano’s name was suggested by IG Punjab Usman Anwar for the Quied e Azam Police award.

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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The government declares March 2 a public holiday.

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In the province capital, Madhu Lal Hussain’s 436th annual three-day urs festivities will get underway on Saturday.

Secretary Auqaf Dr. Tahir Raza will execute the customary chador laying on the saint’s grave to kick off the urs festivities.

On this occasion, ulema Mushaikh, members of the Religious Committee, and a sizable crowd of devotees will take part.

For the Urs gift, the Auqaf Department has set up Rs 459,000. The agency and local police put together impenetrable security plans for the guests.

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