Chief minister says fed govt lacks political will to solve energy crisis
CM demands Sindh’s representation in SSGC, KE
FIA used to coerce SSGC not to supply gas to KE, says CM
KARACHI: In a third letter written to the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said, “It seems that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has decided to target the people of Sindh for categorically rejecting it in the polls, however, we cannot act as a silent spectator to this situation.”
According to letter, the chief minister told the PM that he has been compelled to write yet again on the matter of reduced gas supply to Karachi Electric (KE) for power generation, as after two previous letters and numerous phone calls, the people of Sindh, particularly of Karachi, continue to cruelly be deprived of electricity. The only losers in the ongoing blame game between KE and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) are the residents of Pakistan’s largest city.
The chief minister once again emphasized that the responsibility of resolving this issue lies with the federal government as it owns over 70 per cent of SSGC and almost 25 per cent of KE. He added that both the regulators i.e. National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) are also federal entities.
He further reminded that it is also important to note that when the Implementation Agreement was signed between a private party and the federal government for privatization of KE, the Sindh government was kept away and was not a party to the said agreement.
He said that through that agreement, the federal government guaranteed the payment of all outstanding liabilities payable to KE, including those of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KW&SB). While the Sindh government is paying the current dues of KW&SB on time, the payment of liabilities remains the responsibility of the federal government as per contractual arrangements.
The chief minister further said in his letter that Karachi is experiencing electricity outages for an average of 16 hours a day and in some places, and up to 20 hours in other areas to the poor performance of Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HEPCO) and Sukkhar Electric Power Company (SEPCO). “This is an appalling failure of the government machinery,” he deplored.
In the end, the chief minister warned the prime minister that if this reminder also fails to wake up the federal government to the plight of people of Sindh, he will raise the issue strongly in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and National Economic Council (NEC) meeting scheduled next week and will not participate in discussion on any other agenda item unless a decision is made on this issue to the satisfaction of the justified demand of people of Sindh.
He hoped that immediate directives will be issued by PM office to all concerned for resolving this issue without any further delay of time and without letting things go out of control.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LACKS POLITICAL WILL:
Earlier in the day, the chief minister alleged the federal government of lacking the political will to resolve the rift between SSGC and KE because it does not care about the people of Karachi and they simply do not want to see the industries running smoothly in this city.
He said this while addressing the inauguration ceremony of 15th My Karachi Oasis of Harmony Exhibition at Karachi Expo Center. The CM demanded that if the federal government is unable to control SSGC and KE, the Board of Directors and management of both these entities should immediately be handed over to Sindh government.
“Federal government can keep their shares and profits from these entities but Sindh government should be given representation at the Boards of both companies and the management must also be handed over to us. Then, we will make sure that SSGC and KE take steps in the interest of people of Karachi”, he added.
Sindh Minister for Industries Manzoor Wassan, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) former president Siraj Kassam Teli, Businessmen Group Vice Chairmen Zubair Motiwala, KCCI President Muffasar Atta Malik and others were also present on the occasion.
The chief minister apprised the participants that he has written two letters to the prime minister so far and has personally spoken to him at least 6 times but to no avail.
“We have no share at all in both these entities. We have been demanding representation in KE and SSGC as the problem is being suffered by the people of Karachi and Sindh”, he added.
He said, “Prime Minister and his Finance advisor are busy in foreign tours which is the only thing that matters to them. If they cannot do anything, both these companies should be handed over to us and we will rectify them. We don’t have the capacity to completely take over these companies and it is also not our legal right but Sindh government should be given some authority so that these companies could be forced to do work. The industry and citizens should not suffer because of the ongoing conflict.”
He said that the federal government simply does not want the industry of Karachi to stay operational as they have been hatching conspiracies against this city by ruining the law and order situation and discouraging people from visiting Karachi.
“However, the people and industrialists of Karachi are very resilient, which is not acceptable to the federal government. Hence, they continue to create problems and this conflict between KE and SSGC is part of another conspiracy,” he maintained.
He further shared that the federal government is using the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to force SSGC to refrain from providing gas. It is a matter of concern that FIA is being used to deprive the people of Karachi of electricity, the CM lamented.