Opposition, treasury slam PTI govt for hike in petrol, CNG prices

Published September 28, 2021
This file photo shows the Sindh Assembly in session. — PPI/File
This file photo shows the Sindh Assembly in session. — PPI/File

KARACHI: While lawmakers belonging to the opposition Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P — the two allies of the federal government — along with Pakistan Peoples Party members vehemently condemned the recent hike in petroleum prices and short supply of gas in Sindh, Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh told the Sindh Assembly on Monday that a severe gas crisis was just around the corner that could affect the entire country if timely measures were not taken.

Speaking on the clubbed resolutions and adjournment motions against hike in prices of petroleum products, LNG and CNG, the members rejected the federal government’s decision in this regard saying that injustices were being done with small provinces particularly Sindh.

Lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf did not turn up in the assembly, apparently because of the presence of the prime minister in the city.

The adjournment motions against hike in petroleum prices, including LNG and CNG, were moved by PPP’s Sadia Javed and Farhat Seemen, while GDA’s Nand Kumar had tabled a resolution asking the federal government to withdraw its decision of supply of re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) instead of indigenous gas to industrial and commercial users in Sindh.

The GDA lawmaker came down heavily on the federal government for shortage of indigenous gas in Sindh and said that the province produced 72 per cent of the country’s total gas but it was not given about 40pc of it as per its requirement.

Punjab is being given 60pc of total gas

Referring to Article 158 and 172, he said that the Constitution guaranteed that the province which produce gas would have the first right on it. He said that Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa each produced 12pc gas, while they were being given six per cent and nine per cent, respectively.

“Punjab, that produces only 4pc gas, is being given 60pc of the total gas produced in the country,” he lamented.

Nand Kumar said that energy was being purchased from Qatar at an exorbitant price under a conspiracy.

He said that PPP members always took a jibe on GDA for being an ally of the PTI-led government, adding that they were the ally of the federal government in the larger interest of the country.

“Everyone knows that we [GDA] are not part of the federal government for making money. The GDA is given an insignificant ministry in the Centre,” he added.

Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh lambasted the federal government for the price hike and shortage of gas and electricity in Sindh and rejected the federal government’s proposed Seasonal Energy Pricing, saying that injustices were being done with small provinces particularly Sindh.

He demanded that the provinces should be given due representation in regulatory bodies including the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).

The minister that energy crises occurred in the country due to ‘failed’ policies of the federal government.

PPP’s Imdad Pitafi, Mumtaz Jakhrani, Sadia Javed, Seemen Soomro, TLP’s Mufti Muhammad Qasim and Rashid Khilji of MQM-P also spoke.

PPP demands apology

Earlier, the house witnessed uproar over certain remarks of GDA member Arif Mustafa Jatoi about the PPP government in 1988.

Without naming slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Mr Jatoi said that the PPP’s prime minister was also “selected” in 1988 on which the PPP lawmakers rose to protest over the remarks, demanding an apology from the GDA member.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla rose to say to the GDA member that he should apologise for his remarks. “Why should I apologise,” replied Mr Jatoi.

The PPP member raised slogans against the GDA member asking him to first tender an apology.

Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari, who was presiding over the session at that time, asked the GDA to speak on the matter related to hike in petroleum prices, but the PPP members did not let him speak as they kept on shouting.

As Jatoi kept on asking the chair to restore order in the house instead of speaking on the issue, the deputy speaker called another member to speak, switching off his microphone which ultimately led to the boycott of the proceedings by GDA and MQM-P.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021

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