LAHORE: Dr Musadik Masood Malik, state minister for petroleum, says the government will implement separate gas tariffs for the rich and the poor to give relief the country’s low-income citizens in gas bills.

Similarly, the government will supply locally explored gas or the reserves to be explored in the future to gas-fired power plants for cheap energy generation to bring down the electricity tariff for the public at large.

“The gas tariff under various slabs for the poor will be three times less than those of rich using the same or more gas under the same slabs,” Mr Malik told journalists at the Lahore Press Club on Sunday.

“We’re standing by the poor, which represents around 60 percent of the population, for whom we have either reduced the gas tariff or kept it the same as was in the past,” he said.

He said the electricity we have been generating through LNG costs Rs26 per unit, while it is Rs7 when plants are operated on indigenous gas.

The minister said 1,000 super-rich people had captured the country of 220 million people. He said Pakistan is the country where the gas is being provided for 70 cents per MMBTU—much lower than of various rich countries.

“The gas tariff in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain per MMBTU is $2, $3 and $4, while in Pakistan it is ‘just 70 cents’,” he deplored.

He said in Pakistan, the rich imported luxury cars worth $1 to 2 billion every year.

He blamed Imran Khan for turning Pakistan into two—one for the poor and the other for the rich.

“One Pakistan is that where a poor man is sent to jail for stealing bread for his children while the other one is that where a man involved in stealing watches and diamonds worth billions of rupees is sitting in his home,” he said.

He said one Pakistan was where a daughter was handcuffed in front of her father, while in another Pakistan, a court is giving time again and again to a man (Imran Khan) to appear before judges. One Pakistan is for the poor seeking money for medicines, while in the other, the people have been importing billions of dollars’ worth of precious vehicles.

“Therefore, we have decided to tax the rich and the powerful and not the poor or the weaker ones, as we are the poor as we were with them in old Pakistan,” he maintained.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2023

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