KARACHI: Cracks began to appear in federal government’s allies before the opposition’s no-confidence move against the prime minister as the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), a part of the joint opposition in the province, on Tuesday moved a resolution demanding that the Centre reduce petroleum prices and end gas loadshedding in the province.
The house adopted the resolution with a majority vote.
GDA’s Nand Kumar, who had tabled the resolution against the federal government, said Sindh had the first right to natural gas as per Article 158 of the Constitution.
“Just because we are ally of the federal government, we would not compromise when it comes to rights of our people,” he said, adding that Sindh produced 64 per cent of the country’s total gas, yet it was not given its due share and the GDA would not compromise on public issues.
GDA resolution adopted with majority votes
Sindh plans own power regulatory body
Energy Minster Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh on Tuesday informed the Sindh Assembly that the provincial government would make a legislation to establish its own electric and power regulatory authority, as the federal government did not entertain province’s ‘cheap’ electricity projects.
Furnishing replies to lawmakers’ written and verbal queries during Question Hour, he said that the provincial government had planned to establish the Sindh Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Sepra) on the pattern of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to regulate electricity supply in the province.
“We would present the draft for establishment of Sepra in the cabinet and then in the provincial assembly as the Constitution allows us to have our own regulatory body,” he said.
He said that injustices were being done with the people of Sindh, as they were deprived of gas and electricity.
He said that ‘cheapest’ electricity was produced in Sindh yet the federal government opted to entertain other projects at exorbitant prices.
The minister said that billions of rupees could be saved every year if the Thar coal project was utilised in right manner by the centre.
“There is a severe energy crisis in the country. Prime Minister Imran Khan should approach Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah as only we have solution to the crises,” he added.
He also demanded that the federal government hand over Hyderabad Electric Supply Company, Sukkur Electric Supply Company and gas regulatory bodies to the provincial government.
Heer Soho of PPP said that the people Sindh were facing severe hardships due to ‘incompetence’ of the federal government.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Adeel Ahmed held the previous governments responsible for energy crisis in the country and said that wrong policies of former rulers caused gas shortage.
He said that gas was also being stolen in Sindh and provided to ‘blue-eyed’ sugar mill owners.
Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the GDA said that Sindh’s share of gas was not provided even during the tenure PPP’s federal government.
Meanwhile, giving a policy statement Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro said that the people of Sindh would never allow construction of Kalabagh dam.
Referring to the prime minister’s statement the other day, he said that the people of the province were well aware of the issue and opposed Kalabagh dam scientifically.
Separately, a private bill of MQM-P’s Muhammad Hussain Khan — The Sindh Khatim-Un-NabiyyinTahafuz Bill, 2020 — was referred to the standing committee concerned for further deliberation.
Later, the session was adjourned to Feb 23.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2022