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ISLAMABAD: Mincing no words to lambaste a fortnight-old government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhary said on Wednesday that power crisis in the country deepened after two liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts signed by the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government plunged into an embarrassing default.

Speaking at a presser here, he said that the load-shedding started as two most expensive LNG contracts signed by the then PML-N government defaulted and prompt system gas diversions were not made in the last two weeks – a period which covers the PML-N’s ongoing yet highly controversial stint in power.

“The prices [LNG] went up in a skyrocketing manner, and the government could not adjust things on time, and this was the reason the LNG supply to the country stopped…the government was supposed to divert the system to the local power plants, which they didn’t,” he added.

He said that the PTI government was going to make a payment of Rs50 billion, which the incumbent delayed after coming into power, leading to depletion of furnace oil reserves, as the coal power plants are also being run on 1/3.

He went on to say that the PTI government had built up the biggest pile of diesel stock for 10 years, adding the hoarding of diesel has started in view of likely price hike in the next fortnightly review.

The former information minister said that the prices of DAP fertiliser have increased by Rs500 per bag slamming the tall claims made by the new rulers in their faces who had promised to bring the prices of the fertilisers down.

The increasing incidents of terrorism in the country especially the tragic elimination of three Chinese teachers in Karachi, he added, shows the government has miserably failed to ensure law and order as there is a complete chaos in the country.

In a veiled warning to the Establishment accused of political engineering in the country, Chaudhary said that the solution to the crisis confronting the country is not “installing” Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister and imposing his son Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister Punjab.

“The sole solution to steer the country out of the prevailing constitutional crisis is immediate elections. At the moment there is a temporary government in the country which could not take long-term decisions,” he added.

About the adjournment given in a money laundering case to PM Shehbaz Sharif by a local court, he questioned how a man accused in billions of rupees of money laundering can be treated like this.

He criticized the judiciary for what he said giving out of turn favour to Hamza Shehbaz, saying an accused who is supposed to be indicted is being giving top priority as for the judiciary his chief minister-ship oath seems more important than his indictment.

About the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sharif and his grand entourage to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, he said the government had to take U-turn under public pressure after a letter written by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) surfaced which says “the government will have to pay $60,000 to the national flag carrier per day”.

“This was the biggest policy decision of Sharif administration after coming into power, as 84 people which also include three massagers, and four cooks who are going to perform Umrah at the cost of the hard-earned money of the taxpayers,” he regretted.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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