Mumbai mentioned in Pak SC hearing, CJP asks who is this Sharma, ‘verma’

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ISLAMABAD: In an interesting development, Mumbai was mentioned in Pakistan Supreme Court’s proceeding in Islamabad today and it looked that the chief justice of the apex court was in commentative mood when he objected on a name asking about the religion and identity of the person.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed slammed K-Electric for its failure to supply electricity to the city, going so far as to remark that “people in Mumbai” seemed to be determining “who will get how much electricity in Karachi”.

“It seems that who will get how much electricity in Karachi is being controlled [by someone in] Mumbai,” the CJP remarked while hearing a suo motu case on unannounced load-shedding in Sindh. 

CJP Gulzar Ahmed

The CJP, who is presiding over a three-member bench, made the observation while questioning the ownership of the electric supply company. “Who is the real owner of K-Electric?” asked CJP Gulzar.

To this, the counsel for the power supply company, Ali Zafar, informed the court that the company has nine directors and that it is being run as a joint venture between Saudi and Kuwaiti business groups.

“There will be more groups behind these groups and the [ownership of this] company will eventually turn up in Mumbai,” remarked the CJP.

Zafar in response told the court that it was incorrect to say that the company was owned by someone in Mumbai.

“But this is what we have heard — that someone from Mumbai will eventually come out [as the actual owner]. I have heard that there is a man named Sharma,” remarked the chief justice. He added that if the company had been loyal to the country, Karachi “would not have been like this”.

The CJP said half of Karachi spends the night awake due to power outages, noting that a heatwave is about to hit Karachi and people do not have any electricity. “When the company is being controlled in Mumbai, this will happen,” he remarked.

To this, KE’s lawyer objected saying that reports regarding shareholders being from Mumbai were “incorrect”.

“We have read this in the newspaper, we do not know the source [of the report],” CJP Gulzar told the lawyer.

The CJP was again told that there was “no such thing” and that the shareholders had security clearance.

“Corporate affairs are complicated, someone else is on the front and someone else behind [it],” insisted the top judge. “We have our reservations about the investors in K-Electric. Who are the nine shareholders who want to be party [to the case]?” asked CJP Gulzar. 

He also asked who KE Chairman Shan Ashary was. According to media reports; he is some Sharma, ‘verma’. Upon hearing his name mentioned, Ashary intervened and told the CJP that his full name was Shan Abbas Ashary. He also told the court that he was a Pakistani and asked that his loyalty to Pakistan not be brought into question. 

“If you were loyal to Pakistan, the situation of K-Electric and the people of Pakistan would not be like this,” the CJP said in response to Ashary’s statement.

The KE chairman told the court that $400 million were invested into KE by investors from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

“This story will not end here; there is someone else behind them. It seems that the ownership of this company will finally emerge from Mumbai,” the CJP insisted.