KARACHI: Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah has lashed out at the federal government over the issue of the gas distribution in the country.
Diversion of natural gas to the Punjab at the cost of gas producing province is a source of discontent and detrimental for national harmony, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif .
‘I am writing with reference to widely reported news related to provision of 97 natural gas projects worth more than Rs 37 billion, mostly located in Punjab by relaxing moratorium on expansion of such schemes’ the letter reads.
According to media reports published last month, the prime minister had relaxed the moratorium for 55 constituencies of influential politicians and federal ministers since May last year.
The ban was imposed by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) in 2011 due to serious gas shortage.
Sindh CM questioned the allocation of gas to the Punjab when Sindh is facing the shortage and reminded the PM that it is violation of the Constitution.
‘The expansion of gas network in the Punjab, which produces only about 3% of gas but consumes over 42% of the total gas produced in the country, is in complete disregard of Article 158 of the Constitution which accords priority to the province where well head is situated’.
‘Currently, M/S SSGCL is not entertaining any request for provision of gas to new consumers - both in urban and rural areas of Sindh citing moratorium imposed by the Federal Government,’ he said.
The letter added: “The Council of Common Interest (CCI), in its last meeting dated 16-12-16, constituted a committee headed by Federal Law Minister to interpret constitutional provisions including Article 158. The committee held its meeting on 03-03-2017 and decided to submit a policy for consideration of CCI to implement Article 158”.
The chief minister requested the prime minister to stop the petroleum ministry from ‘diverting natural gas to Punjab’ and lift the ‘unilaterally imposed moratorium’ from gas connections in Sindh.