KARACHI: In his third letter to the prime minister on prolonged load-shedding in the province, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said the provincial government would not remain a silent spectator over the dispute between K-Electric (K-E) and the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).
"It seems that the PML-N [Pakistan Muslims League - Nawaz] government has decided to target the people of Sindh for categorically rejecting it in the polls," the letter read.
The CM wrote to the PM that he was compelled to write to him again on the issue of reduced gas supply to K-E for power generation. Despite two previous letters and numerous phone calls, the people of Sindh, particularly those in Karachi, continue to be deprived of electricity, the CM wrote. The only losers in the ongoing blame game between K-E and SSGC are the residents of Pakistan's largest city, he added.
"I may emphasise again that the responsibility of resolving this issue lies with the government of Pakistan as it owns over 70 per cent of the SSGC and almost 25 per cent of K-E," said Shah in the letter. He added that both regulators concerned, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, were also federal entities.
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He went on to remind the PM that the provincial government was not party to the agreement between the federal government and a private entity for the privatisation of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC). He claimed that in the agreement, the federal government had guaranteed payments of all the outstanding liabilities payable to KESC, including those of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB).
The CM maintained that the Sindh government was paying the dues of the KWSB, whereas, according to the agreement, it was the responsibility of the federal government.
The apathy of the federal government regarding the issue of load-shedding had resulted in a law and order issue as many political parties and civil society organisations had threatened to take to the streets on the issue, the CM wrote. "It is apprehended that [those with] vested interests may take advantage of this situation by resorting to violence, threatening the peace in Karachi, which has been achieved through intense efforts of both governments and through great sacrifices of our law enforcement agencies," the letter read.
Shah continued that not only Karachi was suffering due to the indifference of the federal government, but other areas of Sindh were also experiencing power suspension of 16 hours a day on average and in some places even up to 20 hours a day due to the poor performance of the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and Sukkur Electric Power Company. "This is an appalling failure of the government machinery," he lamented.
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"The people of Sindh are citizens of Pakistan and enjoy equal rights under the Constitution," Shah wrote, adding that Sindhis would not tolerate this blatant discrimination by the Centre any longer.
Concluding the letter, he informed the PM that if the federal government did not take urgent steps to resolve the issue, he would raise it at the meetings of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and National Economic Council (NEC) scheduled next week and would not participate in any other agenda item unless appropriate directives were given to resolve the issue of load-shedding in Sindh.
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