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Opposition holds PM responsible for power crisis and heatwave deaths in Pakistan

PTI's Asad Umar said neither Khawaja Asif nor deputy minister for power Abid Sher Ali is responsible for the crisis.



By Afzal Khan

Published: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:59 PM

Islamabad — With death toll in Karachi because of heat wave reportedly crossing 850 mark, the opposition in the National Assembly and Sindh Assembly held the federal and provincial governments responsible for power outages and water crisis.

In Islamabad, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif regretted the loss of life in Karachi but said the provincial and not the federal government was responsible for that as the issue belonged to provincial government which should have taken preemptive steps in view of forecast on heatwave made by Met office.

The minister said power generation and distribution in Karachi is the responsibility of K-Electric which is in the hands of a private owner. At the time of privatisation of the Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation during Musharraf era, the new owners pledged to meet the entire power needs of Karachi by installing more plants. In a dubious deal, the federal government agreed to provide 650 megawatts of Electricity to Karachi. Although the deal has expired, the federal government is continuing the supply to alleviate the suffering of the people of Karachi.

The opposition members interrupted Khawaja’s speech several times. At one stage the minister shouted back against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) members saying: “You are creating ruckus because soon the MQM will be subject to loadshedding”.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf’s (PTI) Asad Umar said neither Khawaja Asif nor deputy minister for power Abid Sher Ali is responsible for the crisis. “I hold the prime minister himself responsible for that for failure to provide leadership in resolving the problems faced by the country,” he said.

He said the Nandipur power plant built at huge cost shut down within three days after the prime minister inaugurated it. The federal government is holding back its part of funding for two hydel plants built by the KPK government led by the PTI for political reasons.

Leaders of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah said the government should take over K-Electric.

“The Pakistan People’s Party will support the move,” the opposition leader added, citing severe electricity cuts in the metropolis as the main reason for the deaths.

To power minister’ allegations of power thefts and non-payment of bills by large number of consumers in Karachi and other parts of Sindh, Shah said, “Everyone should pay their electricity bills. And if anyone is stealing electricity, whether it’s me or some other politician, action should be taken against them.”

news@khaleejtimes.com


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