ISLAMABAD: Petroleum State Minister Musadik Malik, Tuesday, indicated a possible increase in gas tariffs in the coming days, saying it was “unaffordable” for the present government to maintain the present gas tariff.
“Ogra (Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority) recommended increasing the gas prices but this has not been done keeping in view the inflation factor,” the state minister told the Senate.
Malik said the government is trying not to burden the common man but a non-increase in gas tariff is proving unaffordable for national kitty.
The demand for gas in the last month of December was 1,400 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD), whereas, the supply was only 680 MMCFD, he said.
Presently, 1.238 million applications for new gas connections are pending as the government has imposed a ban on new gas connections due to gas shortage, he added.
Earlier, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani barred 21 lawmakers from different political parties, whose legislative memberships were suspended by the electoral body a day earlier, from attending the Senate session.
The unusual situation emerged at the start of the Senate’s sitting when the Senate chief announced that Secretary Senate Qasim Samad Khan had a “very important announcement” to make.
He then gave the floor to the secretary who said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday suspended the legislative memberships of 21 lawmakers who did not file their statements of assets and liabilities of the previous financial year 2021-22 with the ECP.
The Senate chief then asked the senators, who did not submit their wealth statements, to leave the house and barred them from attending the house proceedings till they submitted the required wealth statements to the ECP.
On Sanjrani’s instructions, some of the suspended senators, who were present on the occasion, left the house. Later on Tuesday, the ECP restored the parliamentary memberships of four of the 21 senators—Rana Mahmoodul Hassan from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Ahmed Khan(independent), Anwaarul Haq Kakar (independent) and Saeed Ahmed Hashmi from Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) after they filed their wealth statements with the ECP.
The membership of the remaining 17 senators remained suspended till the filing of this report Tuesday night. They were: Aon Abbas Buppi from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur (PTI), Kamran Michael (PML-N), Syed Waqar Mehdi (Pakistan People’s Party-PPP), Taj Haider (PPP), Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar (PPP), Rukhsana Zuberi(PPP), Saifullah Abro (PTI), Shaukat Tarin (PTI), Mohsin Aziz (PTI), Hidayatullah Khan (Awami National Party-ANP), Sania Nishtar (PTI), Azam Swati (PTI), Dost Muhammad Khan (PTI), Abdul Qadir (independent), Abdul Ghafoor Haideri (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal) and Manzoor Ahmed Kakar (BAP).
Earlier on Monday, the ECP suspended the legislative memberships of 271 out of a total of 820 legislators from the Senate, as well as, National, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies, except the Punjab Assembly that stands dissolved currently, for their failure to submit wealth statements of the previous financial year 2021-22.
Five separate notifications issued by Secretary ECP Omar Hamid Khan on Monday suggested that 21 of 100 senators, 136 of 342 members of National Assembly (MNAs), 48 of 168 members of provincial assembly (MPAs) – Sindh, 54 of 145 Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa MPAs and 12 of 65 Balochistan MPAs cease to perform functions as lawmakers.
The suspended legislators include Chairman Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Noor Alam Khan, and federal ministers like Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Asif, Naveed Qamar, Sajid Hussain Turi, Tariq Bashir Cheema, and Israr Tareen.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023