ISLAMABAD: The ruling PML-N on Monday faced severe criticism from none other than its own coalition partners in the National Assembly over the prevailing power crisis and deteriorating law and situation in the country.

Minister for Power Khurram Dastagir Khan of the PML-N found himself in hot waters when the members belonging to the PPP, MQM and JUI-F one after the other lashed out at his ministry over the handling of the power crisis resulting in the lengthy power outages all over the country.

The lawmakers refuted the minister’s claim that loadshedding was being carried out only on those feeders which were running in losses and where the recovery of the dues was less.

The lawmakers from Karachi were found to be more aggressive in raising the issue of power outages in the provincial capital of Sindh.

Minister blames PTI government’s mismanagement for ongoing electricity crisis

The issue came up under discussion after the minister made a detailed statement in response to a calling-attention notice regarding “unannounced electricity loadshedding in rural as well as urban areas of Balochistan”. The notice had been moved by the JUI-F and PPP members.

The minister blamed the previous government’s mismanagement for the ongoing power crisis in the country. He said the electricity production in the country had reached up to 22,000 megawatts, and loadshedding was being managed only at feeders having more losses. The past government, he alleged, showed negligence and did not timely arrange fuel for the power plants. He said the PML-N had left Rs1,060 billion circular debt which now surged to Rs2,460bn.

The lawmakers, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the minister’s reply and the MQM and PPP members declared that the situation in Karachi was not different from that of Balochistan.

MQM’s Osama Qadri termed K-Electric a mafia and asked the government to allow other companies to operate in Karachi to end KE’s monopoly. He requested Acting Speaker Zahid Durrani to allocate him a seat on the opposition benches, though he said he was bound to support the government due to the MQM leadership’s decision.

PPP’s Abdul Qadir Mandokhel claimed that there had been 16-hour loadshedding in his constituency. He said previously they used to criticise the PTI regime, but now there was a government of their own.

Responding to the minister’s statement regarding the less recovery of dues in some areas, Mr Mandokhel suggested it would be better if the MNAs were given the task of collecting electricity dues from their constituents.

“The KE is a rogue institution,” said the PPP MNA, asking the government to nationalise the company which was privatised during the military rule under Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Independent MNA Mohsin Dawar, who is also sitting on the treasury benches, expressed concern over the growing incidents of terrorism in the country and asked the government to take parliament into confidence over the reports regarding talks with Taliban.

Bahria Town

Speaking on a point of order, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the government had decided to investigate the disbursement of £140-150 million remitted by the Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) recovered in a money-laundering case from a property tycoon during the tenure of the previous regime.

Without naming Malik Riaz of Bahria Town, Mr Asif said the UK government had banned entry of the accused for 10 years and cancelled their visas.

The minister, according to state-run APP, said the fine amount which was public money was adjusted in an account without sharing its details even with the then cabinet of former PM Imran Khan.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022

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