ISLAMABAD: Probably incensed that even as Prime Minister he could not reduce loadshedding, the former Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf dashed over to the National Power Control Centre (NPCC) on Tuesday, without his prime ministerial protocol, and demanded what is really going on.
Loadshedding has continued unabated in many parts of the country, even during Sehri and Iftar hours, two periods which senior officials had vowed would be spared. The uninhibited continuation of this practice, despite an increased 14,000 megawatts (MW) power generation in the country, has left even the Prime Minister bewildered.
Ashraf said as much in a high level meeting of the Energy Committee at the PM House as he demanded answers from the current Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain and Minister for Information & Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira as well as Secretaries of relevant ministries.
Accompanied by all the participants of the meeting, the Prime Minister paid a surprise visit to the NPCC to ascertain the status of power generation and distribution.
During the visit, the prime minister directed the management to remove the flaws in the distribution system and make sure that the people face minimum loadshedding. He reiterated directives that there should be no loadshedding during 'Iftar and Sehar' times.
Ashraf also summoned a meeting of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and the CEOs of DESCOs tomorrow, aiming take them into confidence on implementing his Ramazan minimum loadshedding plan.
The Prime Minister once again directed the Minister for Petroleum to ensure power generators had an uninterrupted and sufficient oil and gas supply.
The Finance Minister said that his Ministry would continue to extend full financial support to the power sector in order to minimise the gap between the demand and supply of electricity in the country.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Ashraf also had a meeting today to discuss the prevailing energy crisis in the country.