KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday echoed with strong criticism of the federal government over the acute shortage of gas in the province which was getting about 900 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) against its requirement of 1,700mmcfd.
Replying to a calling-attention notice moved by Nand Kumar Goklani of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) in the house, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh said that the province produced 64 per cent of total gas in the country and its people had the first right on it under the Constitution.
The GDA member asked the energy minister to state the reasons for gas loadshedding in summer by the Sui Southern Gas Company, saying it was very unfortunate that the province that produced the majority of total gas was not being given its due share.
He said that Punjab produced only 4pc of total gas, while its requirement was 60pc of the total gas.
PTI continues boycott of the house over suspension of its members
The GDA member said that industrial activity had stopped, rendering hundreds of thousands of people jobless across the province.
Replying to Mr Goklani’s calling-attention notice, the energy minister came down heavily on the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led federal government and said that energy crises worsened from the day PTI came into power.
“Karachi is the revenue hub of Pakistan and contributes major chunk to the country’s economy but the city is targeted by the federal government. Due to shortage of gas, industries closed down,” he said.
He added that people were facing loadshedding of electricity and gas due to bad planning and incompetence of the centre, observing that there were energy crises besides the economic crisis in the country.
Imtiaz Shaikh said that the provincial government had raised voice against the “injustice” at every forum, adding that Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah always spoke for the province’s rights in the Council of Common Interests.
He also criticized the GDA — an ally of the federal government — for “not raising voice” for the people of Sindh at the centre. “A GDA member pointed out the issue in the Sindh Assembly but why does he not ask his party’s federal minister who is also a member of CCI to represent the province’s case?”
The provincial energy minister said that even after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, Sindh was not allowed to work independently in energy sector.
He said that the key to resolving energy crises of the country was in Sindh which was enriched with natural resources such as coal and wind corridor for generating power at cheap rates.
Meanwhile, the assembly also adopted an adjournment motion moved by Shaheena Sher Ali on an identical matter and two-hour discussion was fixed for Monday.
The house unanimously passed The Sindh Employees Social Security (Amendment) Bill, 2021 paving the way for all labourers to get Benazir Mazdoor Card. “In order to provide social security to all workers or self-employed in any establishment and to issue all workers Mazdoor Card, it is expedient to amend the existing law,” the statement of objects and reasons of the bill read.
The Sindh Terms of Employment (Standing Orders) (Amendment) Bill, 2021; The Ziauddin University Examination Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021; and The Ziauddin University (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were also passed.
Earlier during Question Hour, Minorities Affairs Minister Hari Ram Kishori Lal informed the house that five per cent quota for minorities was implemented in all departments.
The minister said that 98 appointments were made in minorities’ affairs department of which 24 were made from minorities, which was above 24pc.
The PTI lawmakers boycotted the assembly sitting and did not turn up in protest against suspension of their eight members by the speaker for “violation” of the assembly’s sanctity.
PTI MPA and Leader of the Opposition Haleem Adil Sheikh told reporters that his party would not attend any sitting until ban on its members was lifted.
The house was adjourned to Monday.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2021