Dear Murad Ali Shah, why have you suddenly taken interest in the gas situation now?
By Shakir Lakhani Published: April 22, 2017

Would you like it if the elected representatives of Karachi threatened to take over the Sindh government’s offices in Karachi if they are not provided funds to run the city?

The normally calm and composed Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, surprised everyone recently by losing his cool and shouting at the top of his voice in the Sindh Assembly. The reason for his outburst was that a power plant in Nooriabad is not being supplied natural gas, as a result of which the said power plant was not able to produce electricity. He threatened to stop the supply of natural gas from Sindh to other parts of the country if the Nooriabad power plant is not immediately supplied natural gas.
Are you serious, Mr Shah?
Apart from the fact that your threat is entirely unconstitutional, and courts in the country can give you relief if you feel that your constitutional rights are violated, have you considered the possibility that taking over the offices of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to shut it down would set a dangerous precedent in your own province?

Would you like it if the elected representatives of Karachi threatened to take over the Sindh government’s offices in Karachi if they are not provided funds to run the city, funds which you are bound by the Constitution to provide? Do you know the havoc it would cause if the people of Karachi suddenly stopped paying provincial taxes, considering that Karachi is the city which provides 96% of taxes collected by your government?

By the way, why have you suddenly taken notice of the gas situation now? Where were you all these years when CNG supply was frequently interrupted, and continues to be interrupted even now? What about low gas pressure and gas load shedding in many parts of Karachi during the past few years? Why is it that only now you have awakened and realised that there is a gas problem in the province? Or does Karachi mean nothing to you but the goose that lays the golden eggs, to be fleeced and exploited at will for the pleasure of your party leaders, most of who do not even belong to Karachi?

According to the contract signed between the power plant and SSGC, you have to pay a security deposit of a billion rupees, but now you do not wish to pay it, perhaps because you and your party members are accustomed to getting everything you want without paying for it. So why did you sign the contract at all? In fact, if you don’t have the said amount of money, where is all the money (900 billion) that you have taken from the people this year? We know the last thing you want to do is to spend the budget money on the welfare of the people, particularly people who live in Karachi, so perhaps one of these days you will let us know where and how it is spent.

As an engineer, you should have carefully studied the project, and could have built a coal-fired power plant instead of one operating on natural gas. It would have produced cheaper electricity for starters, and there would have been no need for any security deposit. But we cannot expect people like you to do something which would benefit the people, can we?

Dear Mr Shah, get real, stop threatening people, get down to work, and earn the gratitude of the suffering people of your province, if you want your party to win the elections next year.

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (