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ISLAMABAD: Power Division is said to have started showing cold shoulder to Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar who is also Chairman Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE), due to which a scheduled meeting of CCoE on July 12, 2021 was cancelled, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

The CCoE was to discuss a proposal of Power Division on renegotiation on Implementation Agreement (IA) with 12 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) established under the Power Policy 2002. Power Division wants to recover Rs 56 billion excess payment made to IPPs of the 2002 policy.

The sources said both the Minister for Energy, Hammad Azhar and Secretary Power, Ali Raza Bhutta politely refused to attend the CCoE meeting, citing their other pressing engagements but the actual reason was that they did not want to attend the meeting in an atmosphere where they are not properly heard.

According to sources, Ministry of Energy is unhappy at the constitution of CCoE from day one as it believes that it is being supervised by around “one dozen” bosses starting from Prime Minister to Finance Minister and Planning Minister and more recently Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Zaidi, in his lead role in the Cabinet Committee on Transport and Logistics (CCoTL) is said to be directly intervening in affairs of energy related issues. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, on Power and Petroleum, Tabish Gauhar has his own personal issues in addition to establishment of two RLNG terminals, a brainchild of “others” sitting in other ministries.

Earlier, Gauhar had differences with the then SAMP on Petroleum Nadeem Babar on a few issues, including the settlement of government-KE dispute. He had tendered his resignation a few months ago and left for Dubai. However, he returned after assurances from the Prime Minister. At that time he was in the camp of Asad Umar but now is on a “hit list” with speculation in the Ministry of Energy that he may not stay in his position for long.

An official revealed that Asad Umar who had asked Nadeem Babar to step down in a press conference, was the first Cabinet member who reached Babar’s residence the same evening and reportedly said “Nadeem Bhai I am so sorry at what has happened”. The Prime Minister, has also started evaluation of performance of Cabinet members and a reshuffle is expected in the Cabinet soon after Eid.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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