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July 19, 1999


I would like to invite the attention of the concerned authorities towards exorbitant prices of different brands of locally manufactured cigarettes in the country.

For example, the cigarette dealers had increased prices of various brands from the next day of the federal budget in which Central Excise duty was increased by 7 per cent. The price of Gold Leaf brand manufactured by Pakistan Tobacco was increased by Rs6 per pack i.e. from Rs29 to Rs35 from the very next day of the budget. However, the increase in central excise duty was withdrawn but the prices were not reduced.

Now the Pakistan Tobacco has introduced a new pack of its Gold Leaf brand on which retail price is mentioned as Rs24.83 plus Sales Tax Rs3.72 the total retail price comes to Rs28.55. But practically it is being sold at Rs34/- by the retailers who are extorting an additional amount of Rs.5.45 profit per pack. The government on the other hand not only wihdrawn the additional central excise duty announced in the budget but also abolished Octroi and Zillah tax but the benefit of this historic decision is not being passed on to the consumers.

The authorities responsible for maintaining consumer item prices are urged to take immediate action and ask the tobacco companies to publish their rates of different brands of cigarettes in the press to discourage the profiteers who are out to mint money without any fear of law in this country.

Karachi Nisar Khokar


Eat the Words

Despite tall claims the load shedding menace keeps on disrupting life-every day at any given hour across a number of areas in Karachi.

About a month ago the newly appointed chairman of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation and the Karachi based minister of state for water and power, Haleem Siddiqui, boasted of eradicating the load-shedding in the city. Both should eat their words.

Belittling the intelligence of the people seems to have become a favourite past time for the authorities of all dispositions and levels. Instead of showing any remorse for the incessant power failures the authorities are conveniently taking a shelter behind technicalities. For instance, they have come up with an absolutely unconvincing theory— the ongoing power disruptions at present are not load-sheddings but breakdowns— as if it absolves them of their responsibility.

For three consecutive days power supply in my area remained suspended for about half-a-dozen time the longest lasting for six hours. It was disrupted all times of day and night to turn life miserable for consumers who are charged premium tariff on Average basis— bills based on high exaggerated monthly consumption irrespective of the power supply. Who says fraud doesn’t pay?

The power consumers of Karachi are forced to foot highly excessive bills for a service which consumers in any civilised country would not even like to have for free. Such is the fearful monopoly of the KESC that it has no qualms to accuse its consumers of every crime under the sun without making any real attempts to curtail corruption at levels within the company to improve its performance.

Karachi Javed Hassan