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SC reopens Nandipur power project case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has reopened the Nandipur power project case on Wednesday.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar led the three-member bench of the Supreme Court today and heard the case. Petitioner and former minister for water and power division, Khawaja Asif, was also in attendance.

Nandipur power project was established in 2005 to generate 525 megawatts of electricity. It was estimated to cost Rs22 billion but it went up to Rs58 billion due to delays.

During the hearing, CJP inquired why Asif had failed to resolve the issue. “You were a federal minister and had the authority to resolve issues,” Justice Nisar remarked.

Asif responded by saying that he was removed from the case due to a conflict of interest. To this, the chief justice responded by saying that the then-minister could have ordered a probe into the matter.

PML-N leader then appraised the court that a commission, headed by Rahmat Ali Jafri, was constituted at that time. “An order was passed to complete the Nandipur project and Chichonki Malian Hydropower Plant (CMHPP),” Asif recalled.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked that Asif’s plea was seven years old. Justice Nisar then said, “You had petitioned in 2011. It has been seven years since then. What do you want this court to take up in the case?”

The petitioner then apprised the court that the Nandipur project has been operative under the government’s ownership for the past five years. “It was not -contracted to a private contractor, the government has been running the plant for the past five years,” Asif stated.

Pointing out a staff of the law ministry, Justice Umar Ata Bandial said Asif had alleged that the delay in the project had been caused by the said person. Asif confirmed his allegation, adding that the commission that was formed to ensure completion of the project had admitted the delay had added to the cost of the project.

Chief Justice Nisar then said that the court will take up the case and make right any deviations from the law.

The apex court issued notices to all parties named in the case including the federal government, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), and Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO).

The hearing was then adjourned till Thursday (tomorrow).

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