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Naveed Qamar and Babar Awan addressing a joint press conference.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday criticised the Punjab government over what it said attempts to politicise gas shortage in the province.

“When you politicise a technical issue and resort to protests, it further enhances gas disruptions,” said Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar at a news conference held after a meeting of the cabinet. Law Minister Babar Awan was also present.

The provincial government should not exploit the situation or give it a provincial or political colour and instead help the government systematically manage the shortage, said Mr Qamar.

Mr Awan said: “Makhdoom-i-Ala (chief minister of) Punjab has tried to give a political colour to a technical issue to cover up his governance weaknesses by raising the slogan of Jaag Punjabi Jaag, like Nawaz Sharif did in the past.”

He said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should disclose the name of an industrial group that was getting 100 per cent resources in Punjab.

He said it was unfair to accuse the PPP-led federal government of being unjust towards Punjab because it had doubled financial resources for all the provinces under the National Finance Commission award and the 18th Constitution Amendment.

Mr Awan said the only solution to the problem of governance in Punjab was “transfer of chief ministership to a PPP leader”. However, he declined to say if the government planned to replace the incumbent chief minister.

Mr Qamar said the gas supply position was better this year as compared to last year. However, the demand had also risen, resulting in gas shortages.

This, he said, was because of higher economic and population growth and enhanced consumption of natural gas in view of higher costs of other fuels like diesel and furnace oil.

He said the cabinet had decided to extend gas holidays for two days for industrial and CNG consumers.

The cabinet had also decided to do away with lopsided provincial gas supplies and to ensure uniform shortages and supplies in all provinces without discrimination.