KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has threatened to halt gas supply to all other provinces and also start a protest movement from today (Friday) against the suspension of gas supply to CNG stations in the province. Addressing a joint press conference on Thursday, the PPP’s Sindh chapter president, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, lashed out at the Centre over the move. “People from all walks of life are suffering due to the suspension of gas supply.
Domestic consumers, CNG stations, industries as well as small factories are all affected by the federal government’s decision to stop gas supply in the province,” he said.
Khuhro was flanked by adviser to CM on information, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh and Transport Minister Owais Shah. “Around 71% of Pakistan’s gas is produced by Sindh,” he claimed.
“Pakistan’s Constitution guarantees to fulfill the energy demand of the area where the gas is produced and then supply it to other areas,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government was displaying a step-motherly attitude towards Sindh.
“We have planned rallies in all district headquarters and a large demonstration will be organised in Karachi, which has been bearing the brunt of the energy crisis owing to the federal government’s incompetency,” he said.
Referring to the PTI’s promises, Khuhro said, “They made tall claims to do justice and uphold the rule of law but now sitting at the helm of affairs, PTI government has committed flagrant violations of Article 158 of the Constitution by snatching rights of smaller provinces,” he said. “This all is being done in modern Pakistan, which is being compared with the welfare state of Madina.”
According to Khuhro, the people of Sindh were first deprived of water and now the PTI has gifted a gas crisis. He appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to reconsider his policies and not force the people of Sindh to take to the streets against federal government’s discriminatory policies.
Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmad Shaikh was of the view that soon after the suspension of gas supply, he had recorded Sindh’s protest with the federal government. Shaikh also raised the issue of Sindh’s representation in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).
“They don’t take Sindh into confidence in power generation and other matters which affect the whole country,” he said.
Transport Minister Owais Qadir Shah complained that owing to the closure of CNG stations, the flow of public transport has been badly affected in Karachi. “People are unable to get to work due to shortage of transport,” he said.
Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that the PPP believed in respecting the Constitution and every article in the Constitution was important to the party. He added that the people of Pakistan could not be served until the implementation of every Article was ensured. Before coming to power, the PTI had made tall claims of upholding the rule of law, but after coming to power, its actions had proved that the Constitution bore no value for of them.
“The suspension of gas supply for the last three days is in sheer violation of Article 158 of the Constitution,” he said. Wahab said that Sindh was contributing a major chunk to the country’s gas production and as per the Constitution, Sindh had the first right on its resources.
“Unfortunately, the federal government is repeatedly denying the rights of the people of Sindh,” he remarked.
Transport woes With CNG stations closed across the province, the streets of the country’s economic hub wore an almost deserted look on Thursday as transporters chose to not ply their vehicles. Commuters, who normally relied on public transport to get to their places of work or schools, were in a fix as the only other alternative were the more expensive taxis or private vehicles. In Badin, hundreds of dailywage drivers and other bus staff expressed apprehension over the loss of their sole source of income.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2018.