Opposition demands independent inquiry into country wide power outage

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The opposition lawmakers in the Senate on Friday blamed the government for crippling inflation and energy crisis in the country and demanded independent inquiry into country wide power outage in last week 

Opening debate on motion about unprecedented gas and energy crisis in the country, unabated price increases, crippling inflation and the rising graph of food insecurity, which are all becoming unsustainable for common Pakistanis, Sherry Rehman of Pakistan Peoples Party said the country was facing acute gas and energy crisis.

She said the country witnessed complete power blackout last week adding that the opposition would not accept inquiry under National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, which works under the government.

She said that a committee of the parliament should be formed to ascertain the real cause of country long power blackout. She said the people was facing acute problem due to low gas pressure in various areas of the country. She alleged that the government has to float emergency tenders for purchasing LNG. Sherry Rehman said record loans were obtained during the last two and half years by the government.

Saleem Mandviwalla informed the House that at last the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed reference against him.

He said he was not afraid of any reference and demanded its open trial. He said he would invite affectees of NAB to this house and in meetings of standing committees.

He said NAB has to stay out business and if it was not done, no one could be able to do business in the country. Private people and businesses should not be subject to NAB torture, he said. He said legislation was only solution to bring improvement in NAB laws. Regarding accountability of NAB officials, Mandviwalla said no one was above the accountability hence the NAB officials should also declare their assets.

Sirajul Haq of Jamiat-e-Islami said the country was facing host of problems and these could only be overpowered with introduction of Islamic system. He said the government has made tall claims but could not even abolish prevailing interests system in the country. Dr Sikandar Mandhro of PPP while taking part in the debate said Sindh was producing 66.7 per cent of total gas in the country, but only 34 per cent was being given to the people of the province.

He said it was a clear cut violation of Article 158 of the Constitution.

He said no doubt that there was gap between demand and supply of the gas. However, he said it was the responsibility of the government to manage the crisis.

Waleed Iqbal of PTI while taking part in the debate said the government faced two major challenges including Covid-19 and locust attack in 2020. He said the whole world acknowledged Pakistan’s steps to curtail Covid-19 and locust attack.

He said 63 districts of the country came under attack of locust. However, by grace of Allah Almighty, Pakistan was declared locust free in October.

He appreciated the local people cooperation, NDMA, and National Locust Control Cell, Army Aviation efforts to making the country locust free. They all worked day and night to fight locust attack, he said.

Regarding inflation, Waleed Iqbal said that inflation was 14.6 per cent last year which was now stood at 8 per cent. Despite all challenges, the government brought the inflation at 7.9 per cent, he said.

Senator Muhammad Akram while taking part in the debate said, “We are facing energy crisis for long. Balochistan has been supplying gas since 1954 to country but most parts of the provinces were still without the facility”. He alleged accountability was being used as a tool to suppress the opposition members. He said Balochistan was future of the country and the government should focus on it. Robina Khalid of PPP also blamed the government for high price of commodities in the country and demanded to take practical steps for giving relief to the people.