Islamabad: Interior Minister Rehman Malik tops a list of Pakistani ministers who have defaulted on the payment of electricity bills, with the outstanding dues for his official residence here amounting to over Rs 4.9 million.
According to bills issued by the Islamabad Electric Supply Company, Malik has not made any payments since he moved into House 34 in the Ministers` Enclave about five years ago.
Till February 13, arrears against Malik`s official residence stood at Rs 4.75 million, the Dawn newspaper reported.
His monthly bill for February alone was Rs 153,788, and the total outstanding amount increased to Rs 4.92 million which included a late payment surcharge of Rs 12,000.
Unlike domestic consumers who face disconnection if they do not pay their electricity bills on time, Malik continues to have uninterrupted power supply, the report said.
In a message posted on Twitter, Malik contended that the Public Works Department was responsible for paying the electricity bills.
"I live in the official residence like other ministers and utility bills are cleared by PWD. Bills never come to the ministers," he wrote.
Under perks and privileges enjoyed by federal ministers, the government provides a monthly allowance of Rs 24,000 and any excess has to be paid by the minister.
The Dawn reported that several ministers were apparently taking the allowance but not clearing their electricity bills.
Malik`s average monthly bill for electricity since he moved into the Ministers` Enclave 56 months ago worked out to about Rs 89,000.
The total amount owned by government departments to power distribution companies hovers around Rs 170 billion, the report said.
In June last year, Malik had asked a cabinet committee to give him an opportunity to recover all electricity arrears.
"Leave it to me, I will sort them out and correct their system. I will ensure 100 per cent recovery and reduction in load shedding," he had said at the time.
According to official records, Minister for Narcotics Control Haji Khuda Bakhsh has not paid electricity bills amounting to Rs 1.07 million for 49 months.
Minister for Postal Services Umar Gorgeij has outstanding bills of Rs 1.96 million.
Fahmida Mirza, the Speaker of National Assembly, has an outstanding amount of Rs 381,266 against her official residence.
Federal Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, who was once tipped to become premier, owes Rs 271,726 and has not made any payments for over 22 months.