• Energy minister congratulates Sindh Assembly on PPP’s victory in by-polls
• Ruling party accused of offering money to buy LG representatives of other parties

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Monday was echoed with heated arguments between lawmakers belonging to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf over Sunday’s by-elections on remaining union committees of Karachi.

The opposition party reminded the PPP that the next mayor of Karachi would be elected with PTI votes.

The situation took an unpleasant turn at the outset of Question Hour when Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh congratulated the PPP leadership, workers and people over their victory in the by-polls across the province.

His remarks enraged PTI’s parliamentary party leader Khurram Sher Zaman and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s lone member Syed Abdur Rasheed, as they accused the PPP-led provincial government of using all government machinery to influence the recently concluded by-elections.

Mr Sher Zaman said: “It would be the PTI whose votes will elect the man for Karachi mayor.”

The energy minister said that the victory was tantamount to peoples’ confidence in the PPP who voted for the party in every election. He said the opposition parties could not compete the ‘services’ being tendered by the PPP government with their ‘hooliganism’.

Hitting back at the energy minister, the PTI parliamentary party leader said that the PPP had ‘offered’ sacks of money to buy conscience of local government representatives of other parties.

“But yet they [PPP] will be unable to get its mayor elected in Karachi. It would be the PTI whose votes will elect the man for Karachi mayor slot,” he added.

After Sunday’s by-election, the PPP has become the single largest party in the City Council but it still lacked simple majority to bring its candidate as next Karachi mayor. It has to either forge an alliance with the Jamaat-i-Islami or the PTI to get the coveted mayoral office.

Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari kept on reminding the PTI leader to stick to the questions related to the energy department, but in vain.

Call attention notices

Responding to a call attention by Grand Democratic Alliance member Nand Kumar Golkani, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that the provincial government was going to build two million houses for flood victims in the next three months.

He said that a survey in this regard had already been done. “The provincial government has provided a lot of support to flood affected people,” he added.

The GDA MPA in his call attention notice asked that how many houses were built as announced earlier by the provincial government for the flood-hit people.

Ali Khurshidi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan in his call attention notice raised the issue relating to the theft of iron from bridges, underpasses, green belts and other infrastructure in different parts of the city. He said that mainly drug addicts were involved in the crime who used to sell the iron to junk dealers.

Responding to the call attention notice, Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government Saleem Baloch termed it a big issue of the city and said that similar complaints were being received.

He said that Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s department took action against such offenders.

Question Hour

While furnishing statement and replies to the lawmakers’ written and verbal questions, Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said that currently 24 wind IPPs were operating in the province with a capacity of 1,235MW.

He said that 59 projects of 3,900MW were initiated by the Directorate of Alternate Energy, Energy Department which included 35 wind projects of 2,485MW, 23 solar projects of 1,400MW and one hydro project of 15MW.

He said that two wind IPPs initiated by the energy department with a capacity of 100MW were operational, adding that 10 wind IPPs with cumulative capacity of 510MW were under construction in Jhimpir, Thatta.

He said that three solar IPPs with a total capacity of 150MW were under construction in Sukkur.

Besides, he added, wind IPPs with a capacity of 1,875MW, 20 solar IPPs of 1,250MW and one hydro project of 150MW were under construction.

To a question asked by Mr Sher Zaman, the energy minister said the department had launched a project to provide solar energy to at least 200,000 houses in the province.

He said that the estimated cost of a basic solar home system consisting three lights, one fan and a mobile charging facility was around $40,000.

He said that actual cost would be determined from market through open bidding.

Mr Shaikh said that the price of solar panels and other equipment had increased due to the hike in the dollar price and the provincial government had decided to increase the subsidy on it.

In response to a question, Mr Shaikh said that they will also solarise all the governmental buildings in the province.

He said that total 399 villages had been electrified with the service territories of Hesco and Sepco.

Later, the sitting was adjourned till Tuesday (today).

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2023

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