MAMOSA Report — Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday expressed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was inciting provinces against each other.
Bhutto accuses Sharif of giving Punjab the lion’s share of multiple gas schemes recently given go ahead by the federal government.
“Instead of adopting uniformed policies, Nawaz Sharif was trying to appease some specific circles in parts of Punjab,” Bilawal said.
“Approval of 97 gas provision projects worth Rs 37 billion in the particular areas amounts to axing the Federation and inciting provinces against each other,” the PPP Chairman said in a statement.
According the Express Tribune, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has used his discretionary powers for initiating gas supply schemes in constituencies of around 100 parliamentarians including federal ministers by doling out Rs27 billion worth of development funds.
With the launch of these schemes, the government has lifted the moratorium on new gas connections imposed during the tenure of previous Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government because of acute gas shortage.
Most of these projects are being implemented in Punjab, which are believed to be aimed at winning the support of voters in general elections next year, the paper wrote.
Bilawal said that even the historic city of Umerkot in Sindh province (where PPP rules) has not been provided gas despite the payment by provincial government to the gas company.
“Nawaz Sharif government rejected several requests from the Sindh government for provision of domestic gas connections in its rural and urban areas as all such requests were turned down on the pretext of moratorium’ Bilawal said.
He said that PPP was the chain of the Federation and it would not allow Nawaz Sharif and his company to harm the Federation just for the sake of winning few electoral seats through his cronies and beneficiaries.
The PPP Chairman said those who raised ethnic slogans for their political and personal mileage are out again to pose threats to the unity among provinces by violating the Constitution, which protects the provinces’ interests in clear terms.
Bilawal went on to state that it was Nawaz Sharif who threw away the key projects like Keti Bunder and Thar Coal in the late nineties and terminated thousands of government employees from the smaller provinces recruited by Benazir Bhutto-led government.
He endorsed the letter from Chief Minister, Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah to the Prime Minister about the unconstitutional and illegal new gas projects and warned Nawaz Sharif that any overt or covert threat to the Pakistani Federation won’t be tolerated by PPP and other democratic parties of the country.
A civil complaint recently filed in the Islamabad High Court contains three extremely disturbing contentions on gas connections moratorium flouted for political considerations, the petitioner claimed.
The petitioner has provided an entire list of those granted exemptions, which include several federal ministers, including the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who, according to a Business Recorder report, submitted a summary for a moratorium to the cabinet for approval on the one hand and a request for exempting his constituency from the moratorium on the other.
Additionally, BR reports that Captain Safdar, the Prime Minister’s son-in-law, Khawaja Asif, Abid Sher Ali, Rana Tanvir, Saira Afzal Tarar, Barjees Tahir, Akram Khan Durrani, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, regarded as a key coalition partner by the Sharif administration, received exemptions for gas connections to their constituencies.
Several influential MNAs of the PML-N also reportedly succeeded in getting exemptions from the Prime Minister. All in all, 35 cases of exemptions have been cited in the petition and were extended to unserved areas in constituencies of the influentials – a decision that has obvious positive implications on the re-election bid of those granted a moratorium.