The ruling and opposition parties are again on their way to blaming each other for problems and crises in the country. The same was witnessed in Senate on Friday on the issue of “gas shortage” when Sherry Rehman (PPP) alleged the Centre for intentionally creating hurdles for the Sindh government in the form of mis-apportionment of gas distribution to a province that had been producing almost 70 per cent of the utility in the country.
Referring to the Article 158, Ms. Rehman pointed out that she was not opposing the supply of gas to other provinces however Sindh being the major producer had the right to use it first to cater its needs and then to distribute it to other parts of Pakistan. She claimed that Sindh was receiving just 800-900 mmcfd out of 2,500 mmcfd that it was producing. Mentioning the 12 percent gap between demand and supply of gas in the country, Sherry said that the situation was alarming as the people from Karachi to Balochistan were suffering from gas shortage in such an intensively cold weather. She declared it quite unfair for the miserable community of Pakistan to face gas crises even after paying 200 percent increased prices.
“Surprisingly, Sindh has no representation in OGRA and other energy organizations”, says Sherry Rehman
Bashing the government the PPP senator that although the meetings were called by the federal government as a formality, no practical solution was implemented to fix the issue. She hinted that the non-serious attitude of the government would lead the situation towards severe constitutional crises between the Centre and the province of Sindh. Calling it a matter of extreme discrimination, Sherry Rehman told the house that the Oil and gas regulatory Authority (OGRA) and other government-owned energy institutions had no representation from Sindh.
Questioning the government demand from Sindh to buy costly imported gas she asked the house if it was logical to purchase high cost gas for a province that was its (gas) major producer. Sherry categorically snubbed the govt allegation on Sindh for non-cooperation in laying gas pipelines and cleared that the Centre was never serious in resolving the issue equitably. She claimed that the federal government had neither given any justified pricing formula to the province nor had it held any discussion with it to resolve the issue.
Sherry Rehman urged the Chairman Senate to refer the matter to the Senate committee concerned
After MS. Rehman was done with her ammunition, Omar Ayub took his position to represent the rulers and bombarded the opposition with a lot of blames and denunciations, claiming that the two previous governments of PPP and PML-N were solely responsible for the gas crises due to non-initiation of any major exploration activity in 10 years that could meet the purpose. Answering about the demand-supply gap Ayub mentioned that absence of any incentive policy from the two resulted in creation and widening of the said gap. He cleared that the ratio between supply and demand is about 1:2 even after the inclusion of LNG.
Answering a question from Sherry Rehman, Ayub told the house that the mis-allocations of the utility were made by then ruling parties (PPP and PML-N) and it was unfair to hold PTI responsible for all this. He also blamed Sindh government for not allowing the construction of 17-km long pipeline so as to supply LNG to Punjab.
Moreover, the members from Bolochistan and Sindh staged a short sit-in right in front of Chairman’s rostrum and was joined by the treasury Senators including BNP’s Sarfraz Bugti. The said move from the members was objected by the Parliamentary leader of PML-N Mashahid Ullah who declared it a step towards establishing wrong traditions complaining that it was not the right way to address the concerns.