In rare joint press conference, KP CM Gandapur and federal ministers express will to work together

Published May 27, 2024
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin
Gandapur, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi and Energy Minister Awais Leghari address a joint press conference in Islamabad on May 27. — DawnNewsTV
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi and Energy Minister Awais Leghari address a joint press conference in Islamabad on May 27. — DawnNewsTV

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and members of the federal cabinet, including Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, on Monday held a joint press conference in Islamabad, where the former said he had found a solution to the province’s power issues and was willing to cooperate with the centre.

Gandapur’s KP administration and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) have been at loggerheads of late over prolonged loadshedding across the province.

On May 15, he had even threatened to take over the Pesco’s entire system if the federal government did not solve the “brutal” electricity woes and issue a new loadshedding schedule.

The latest incident in the series of hostilities saw PTI MPA Fazl Elahi on Sunday leading protesters inside Peshawar’s Rehman Baba Grid Station and forcibly activating feeders — for which Pesco sought a case against him.

Addressing a joint press conference with Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi and Energy Minister Awais Leghari today, Gandapur said that both federal and provincial entities would cooperate to address loadshedding and losses to the energy sector from power theft.

“We have come together to ensure that losses in the system will be addressed and mechanisms will be put in place to prevent them,” he said.

“I am proud to say that we can produce and distribute electricity nationwide. But there are problems with loadshedding and those escalate into problems with law and order.”

The chief minister said that he held multiple discussions with Naqvi and Leghari, adding that plans were now in place to develop a mechanism to prevent losses to the exchequer and ensure that citizens pay their arrears.

“We as a province will do our part, as will our parliamentarians and local government representatives,” he added.

“This will be a community-based project,” Gandapur said, adding that until a mechanism is fully developed, KP will receive relief from the centre.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, this will take time,” CM Gandapur added.

He said that both sides had given presentations and that once complete, the initiative would benefit the people by extending them relief, while also benefitting the government by reducing financial losses.

He added that his administration planned on introducing solar energy to KP to further benefit the public.

“We will soon be loadshedding free,” the chief minister vowed.

Meanwhile, Leghari labelled the occasion as a “joyful day”, saying that the critics will have to accept that despite partisanship and political agendas, the federal government and the PTI have “recognised the damages done to this country” and come together for a solution.

“We all came to the table to discuss this issue (loadshedding) and I am grateful to the interior minister for his role,” Leghari added. “We shared plans and told each other about the problems we are facing.

“We have come up with a solution which we will announce sometime tomorrow (Tuesday), once we have finalised the details,” Leghari said. “Once everything is set, the model in KP will be replicated in other provinces as well.”

The energy minister echoed the KP chief minister’s comments by saying that the initiative will be “community-based”, involving MNAs and MPAs.

“This is not as much a matter to end power theft as much as it is a way to end loadshedding,” he said, adding that the PTI, PML-N and other governing parties have come together to revive the country’s economy.

Fielding questions from reporters, Gandapur said that he separated the “position from the institution” and said he was “seated next to the interior minister, not Mohsin Naqvi”.

“Though the PML-N stole our mandate, we have to work together for the good of the country,” he said. “Imran Khan has always said we (the PTI) have no quarrel with any institution. We may have problems with individuals, but never institutions.”

“There are political parties and there are initiatives. We must not conflate the two,” the chief minister maintained.

Responding to a question, Interior Minister Naqvi acknowledged there was a “great shortage” of electricity in KP. “We have managed to solve that very intelligently. This is something that needs to be appreciated.”

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