ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday blamed the “mismanagement” of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government for the prevailing energy crisis in the country, declaring that the ongoing loadshedding had nothing to do with the power generation capacity .
“Today there is loadshedding in the country due to gross mismanagement and incompetence of the previous government,” Mr Sharif told the National Assembly on Saturday.
He said the country had the capacity of generating 35,000 megawatts of electricity, but due to the closure of different power plants running on gas and oil, different parts of the country were facing loadshedding for the last few days.
The prime minister said that soon after assuming the charge, he had received briefings from officials of the ministries of petroleum and energy over the loadshedding issue.
Closure of power plants built under CPEC blamed for loadshedding
He said the country was facing a shortage of about 6,000 MW of hydel power, which was linked to the melting of glaciers and the availability of water. Despite this, he said, the country had sufficient electricity to meet the requirements of the country.
Mr Sharif regretted that coal-fired and solar power plants, which had been set up under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as well as the LNG plants that could produce about 5,000 MW of electricity had been lying closed.
He said that one of the power plants having the capacity of generating 1,250 MW of electricity and which was to start generating power in 2019 had not been started yet.
The prime minister accused the previous PTI government of paying no attention towards the energy issue and several power plants had been closed due to the non-availability of oil and gas.
He alleged that the previous government did not purchase LNG when its price was only $3 per unit, which now had surged manifold and stood at around $30-35 dollars per unit.
During 2015-16, he said, the then PML-N government had reached an agreement with Qatar for the import of LNG, but the PTI government had started finding faults in it. Today, he said, due to sanctions imposed on Russia by European countries, gas was not easily available to several countries.
The prime minister said the PTI government was indifferent to public issues and it was “stone-hearted”.
He, however, assured the house the new government was trying to resolve issues facing the country on a priority basis.
Mr Sharif also condemned the attack on the deputy speaker of Punjab Assembly, describing it as a fascist act by the provincial government.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2022