SNGPL officials only work under verbal abuses: minister

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The meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum ended in a boycott on Monday after the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad objected to the mannerism of the chairman and committee members while dealing with the officials of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL).

The meeting was convened to discuss the progress on the ongoing gas supply schemes for the parliamentarians. The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad was especially invited to brief the committee on the progress. Sheikh said that there was ban on new schemes for parliamentarians and work was being done only on already approved schemes.

PML-N MNAs said that their demands were not being addressed by SNGPL and they were made to visit the company head office. “No top official meets us in the head office. The new general elections are just two years away. Some kind of conspiracy is being hatched against PML-N,” MNA Rana Ishaq said. His argument was supported by other MNAs.

Supporting the members of the committee, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abassi said that the SNGPL was an ill-managed company. “The higher ups don’t listen to anybody. I have told them numerous times to resolve MNAs and MPAs issues at the GM level but they (GMs) give them directions for Lahore,” he said.

“They (SNGPL officials) only work under verbal abuses. So it is better if members talk to them in language they better understand,” the minister advised.

After taking cue from the Petroleum Minister advice, chairman committee Bilal Virk directed ousting the Islamabad SNGPL General Manager Ejaz Chaudhry from the meeting for his discourteous manner while dealing with parliamentarians. “He neither takes calls from MNAs nor bothers to call back,” he said.

A furious chairman directed the immediate transfer of the GM, and said that he would otherwise resign from the chairmanship of the committee. The petroleum minister directed for compliance with the chairman’s wish.

Sheikh Aftab objected to the mannerism of the chairman and said that the officials are called by the committee and they should be treated fairly. However, the chairman and committee members took exception to the remarks of the state minister and said that there was no use sitting in a committee in which their issues could not be discussed.

Bilal Virk said he was resigning from the committee and a new chairman should be selected. He left the meeting and was followed by other members of the committee.