‘Federal govt is evil stepmother to Punjab’


Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Monday said the federal government was ‘behaving like a stepmother’ with Punjab and that the camp office will keep functioning until it did not change this attitude.
The chief minister was speaking at the Minar-e-Pakistan, where he has set up his camp office to protest against the ongoing power crisis in the province. The cabinet members, along with the chief minister, tied black ribbons around their arms to symbolically protest against the federal government for failing to control the energy crisis in the country. Punjab Interior Secretary briefed the cabinet on the law and order situation in the province.
The chief minister had reached his camp office at the Minar-e-Pakistan through public transport from his residence at Model Colony to chair the provincial cabinet meeting.
The chief minister discussed issues related to the power crisis and the budget for 2012 in the provincial cabinet meeting that went on for two hours. A strategy to provide relief to common masses regarding energy crisis was also discussed.
The chief minister asked the chief secretary to speak to the federal government about the circular debt.
Talking to the media after the meeting, Shahbaz Sharif said Punjab shared only Rs 4 billion in the Rs 400 billion circular debt while the federal government was responsible for the remaining debt.
He said the federal government was unjust to Punjab as it had not implemented the decisions taken unanimously in the energy conference and depriving Punjab of 700MW of electricity.
The chief minister said the federal government was wrongly propagating that the provinces could generate electricity while the federal government’s guaranty was compulsory for the initiation of any power project in the provinces.
He said the situation would have been different if Punjab was allowed to generate electricity as the Punjab government has a track record of completing several mega projects within few months.
The CM added that the protest camp will continue till the power cuts ended and just distribution of electricity to all provinces was ensured. Sharif added that the provincial ministers and advisors will also conduct their daily work in protest camps outside their offices.
Shahbaz Sharif concluded that the energy crisis had cost a loss of Rs 90 billion to the economy of Punjab.
He said the energy crisis can be controlled by paying the Rs 400 billion circular debt.
“I request with my hands folded before the federal government to not cause any harm to the protestors,” he added. He stated that the fact that a population that pays millions of rupees in taxes is deprived of electricity is shameful.
Meanwhile, during the provincial cabinet meeting some women were barred from meeting with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at the camp office. After the meeting, a few protesters were called to the camp office. Following this incident, dozens of protesting women, tried to barge inside the office. One of the protestors, Shahida Bilqis got involved in a fist fight with the security officer when she was not allowed inside the office.
Meeting with disappointment, the woman started slapping herself and fainted as a result.
Following this incident, the women were allowed into the office where Chief Minister’s Special Assistant Khawaja Salman Rafique assured that their grievances will be addressed.

PPP says air-conditioners at CM’s camp office run on stolen electricity

The Pakistan Peoples Party has submitted an adjournment motion at the Punjab Assembly’s Secretariat against the operation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s camp office at the Minar-e-Pakistan on charges of stealing electricity. The adjournment motion was submitted by PPP Parliamentary Leader Shaukat Mehmood Basra. Talking to newsmen on Monday‚ Shaukat Basra said the purpose of filing this motion was to expose the real double face of the PML-N leadership. He said the air-conditioners at the camp office were being run on stolen electricity. Basra also condemned the torture by the police of the women gathered at the camp office seeking solutions to their problems. Basra said the CM’s camp office at the Minar-e-Pakistan was merely a drama. He stated that billions of rupees had been embezzled under the cover of the laptop and Sasti Roti schemes. He said despite possessing huge water reservoirs‚ the Punjab government had failed to generate a single additional unit of electricity during the recent years.