Govt telling lies to cover up power sector failures: opposition

LAHORE: Opposition parties on Sunday accused the ruling PTI of telling lies to cover up its failure in the power generation sector as a major fault in the electricity distribution system plunged the entire country into darkness a day ago.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said the worst-ever power shutdown proved that the incumbent government was “inept” and “incompetent” as the national economy was plunging due to new crises being caused by the rulers on a daily basis.

PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb termed the federal ministers’ press conference on power breakdown “a bulletin of lies” and said that not just electricity but every sector of the country had broken down ever since the “incompetent” and “disastrous” PTI government was imposed on the country.

“The PTI government has become habitual of blaming everything on PML-N and the opposition. Though the government still has no idea what caused the breakdown, its ministers are shamelessly blaming it on the past PML-N government,” Ms Aurangzeb said in a statement issued here.

Responding to the press conference by Energy Minister Umar Ayub and Information Minister Shibli Faraz earlier in the day, the PML-N spokesperson said that up to 25,000MW of electricity was being supplied by the Nawaz Sharif government in the summers, but when the PTI’s “incompetence” caused a breakdown of this system all of a sudden it started blaming it on the past government.

Shibli Faraz told reporters that the present government was working on improving the power distribution system which remained neglected in the past. He said the previous government had focused on power generation only.

“The system was working great when it was handling maximum load in summers. And during wintertime when the load is less than half, it crashed due to Nawaz Sharif,” Ms Aurangzeb wondered.

She said those who couldn’t generate a single megawatt of electricity for the past eight years in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and three years in the federal government had the audacity of “shamelessly” blaming Nawaz Sharif for the breakdown.

“Nawaz Sharif saved the nation from 18-hour loadshedding and commissioned new power plants. If the transmission system was bad then how did the 18-hour loadshedding come to zero? When the ruler is a thief and incompetent, darkness becomes the destiny of the nation,” she lambasted.

The PML-N leader sarcastically said it won’t surprise the nation if Imran Khan’s next statement came out to be that Nawaz Sharif-installed power plants were “blackmailing” him. She said that ever since Imran Khan came to power, everything had been breaking down from the national currency to the economy, employment, business, flour, sugar, railways, PIA, FBR, ministries, institutions and the foreign policy.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is also flabbergasted by the logic given by the government about the power breakdown and believes that non-payment to the independent power producers may be the main reasons behind the blackout, which became a top trend on social media.

“The energy minister declared that the power breakdown happened when frequency dropped from 50-hz to 0 but gave no logic behind the drop in frequency,” PPP deputy information secretary Munawar Anjum said here on Sunday.

“Basically, it’s the failure of the government on payments to the independent power producers. The circular debt has increased manifold making the IPPs unhappy, uncomfortable and unable to continue power generation. Never in [the country’s] history have the people witnessed such a worst power breakdown,” he said, adding that the “incompetent” government must be thankful to the people who remained peaceful and showed patience and resilience during the testing times.

Jamaat-i-Islami’s naib emir Liaquat Baloch said loadshedding and higher tariff were unbearable and unaffordable for the people, industry and businesses. He said the major breakdown was the result of the “incompetence” of the government, energy ministry and the power utility, causing inconvenience to the masses.

Mr Baloch alleged that almost every sector of life had been hit under the incumbent rulers and the masses were suffering due to failures of the government and warned that a countdown for the regime had started.

Foreign funding case

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb told the media in Rawalpindi on Sunday that the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement would hold a protest outside the offices of Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on Jan 19 over ECP’s failure to decide foreign funding case against the ruling PTI.

She regretted that the case remained pending before the ECP despite the fact that the State Bank of Pakistan had revealed 23 foreign accounts of the PTI.

Demanding hearing of the foreign funding case on a daily basis, she said: “If the Panama Papers case hearing could be held on a day-to-day basis then why the foreign funding case is not being fixed for hearing.”

Ms Aurangzeb said there would be a historical gathering on Jan 19 outside the ECP offices.

Aamir Yasin in Islamabad also contributed to this report

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