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PM Gilani orders end to power outages in 24 hours

27 March, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday took a strong notice of rampant unscheduled loadshedding afflicting both the people and industry in the country, and issued directives to bring about an end to power outages within the next 24 hours.

The prime minister, who is currently participating in the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea, directed the ministers of finance, petroleum, and water and power to take the necessary steps to halt the unscheduled loadshedding immediately.

According to sources in the PM House, a compliance report has been sought and is expected to be submitted to the prime minister in Seoul.

APP adds: Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik on Monday pledged that nationwide loadshedding would start receding during the next 48 hours, following the directions of the president to double the supply of furnace oil to power generation companies. Addressing media persons outside parliament, the interior minister advised Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to avoid taking out a long march against the power outages, saying such behaviour was not befitting of a sitting chief minister.

Rehman Malik added that he would be compelled to expose the corruption of Sharif brothers by installing big screens at famous crossings in Islamabad. "The Sharif brothers left the country at a time of crisis and were able to return due to the efforts of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto," said the minister in his briefing. "The PML-N is responsible for the power crisis in the country as they ended various power generation projects initiated by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto."

Rehman Malik also declared that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), as well as intelligence agencies, had been directed to take action against vagabonds who tried to disturb the law and order situation in the country.

The minister informed media persons that extortion in Karachi had been checked to a large extent, and that a gang headed by Rehman Qureshi had been smashed, promising that other gangsters would also be arrested soon. In response to a question, Malik said that parliament's decision on the restoration of Nato supply routes through the country would soon be implemented.

Opposition gives govt 48 hours to end load shedding

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday threatened to launch a countrywide protest if the government failed to resolve electricity load shedding issue within 48 hours.

Speaking at a joint parliamentary session, Nisar said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz would continue protests in parliament as well as on the streets in this regard. The joint session was supposed to debate on new terms of engagement with the US. Nisar also demanded that the government extend date for depositing electricity bills so that the people could be facilitated.

"It is strange that electricity is not provided but burden of increased bills is put on shoulders of the people," he added. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) legislators resorted to sloganeering during PPP lawmaker Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah's speech.

Shah said that after the passage of 18th Amendment, the provincial governments could install power-generation units, but the Punjab government had not taken any steps to produce even a single unit.

The PML-N lawmakers strongly protested against his remarks. However, sanity prevailed when Opposition Leader in Senate Ishaq Dar and Federal Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar agreed to discuss the load-shedding problem. When Dar insisted, the minister announced to withdraw a surcharge included in the current bill until a mechanism is evolved in this regard.

"The consumers will now have to pay only the normal bill of electricity excluding the surcharge," the minister assured the joint parliamentary session.

Qamar also dispelled the impression that Punjab was being accorded step motherly treatment in the power distribution and asserted that the power shortage was being managed equally in all the provinces.

The session also witnessed a heated argument between Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza and PML-N lawmaker Tahmina Daultana when the former criticised the conduct of the lawmakers and switched off the latter's mike. The death of acid-burn victim, Fakhra Younas, was also taken up in the proceedings after lawmakers Kashmala Tariq, Haider Abbas Rizvi and Dr Azra Afzal condemned this act.

End.

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