Efforts on to lift ban on new gas connections

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MPs for setting up parliamentary body to ensure transparency in bureaucrats’ promotion

Islamabad—Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Tuesday informed the National Assembly that efforts were being made to lift ban on new domestic gas connections.
Winding up debate on the motion that the government should take steps to do away with gas load-shedding in the country, the minister said ban was imposed on domestic gas connections in 2011. The government, he said, had also accelerated the efforts of domestic exploration of oil and gas to meet energy shortage in the country.
Shahid Abbasi said there were 33 per cent increase in the exploration with 54 per cent success ratio. The exploration process, he added, would be further accelerated. Some 90 new discoveries had been made in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The minister said the country’s oil production had crossed 100,000 barrels per day for the first time. Shahid Khaqan said the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) was a big achievement of the incumbent government to meet the ever-increasing energy demand. There would be 33 per cent increase in the LNG import by July next year.
With the import of LNG, he said, industry and fertilizer plants were getting supply of gas. The minister said there was 40 per cent increase in the domestic consumers of gas in winter and steps were being taken to fulfill the requirement.
Regarding Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project, the minister said the government had made efforts to move forward on the project but progress was not possible till lifting of complete international sanctions on Iran.
He said work on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India project was started in December last year and hoped that it would be completed in four years. After completion, Pakistan would be able to get gas through that project, he added.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch Tuesday apprised the National Assembly that some 6000 tents had been provided to the temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) of tribal areas.
Responding to a Calling Attention Notice raised by Muhammad Jamal-ud-Din and others regarding non-provision of facilities like tents to the TDPs of South Waziristan despite availability of funds, the minister said some 30,000 more tents were sought for the TDPs and the matter was taken up with the Finance Ministry.
About 400 to 500 families were returning to their natives areas on daily basis, he added. He said the government had cognizant of the situation and all-out efforts were being made to mitigate the sufferings of TDPs, who had rendered supreme sacrifices for the country.
Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) Tuesday called for setting up a parliamentary committee to ensure transparency in the promotion of bureaucrats. They were of the views that the parliamentary committee could bring reforms in the existing promotion system.
Speaking on a point of order in the National Assembly, PPP parliamentary leader Syed Naveed Qamar said the issue was also raised in the last session. The whole system could be streamlined by setting up the parliamentary committee, he added.
Musrat Zeb said the bureaucrats’ promotion issues could not be resolved till the formation of the parliamentary committee. Sher Akhbar Khan also lamented bureaucracy for non-cooperating with elected representatives.
Capt (R) Muhammad Safdar, on a point of order, said there should be a parliamentary censor committee for reviewing all advertisements before being aired on television channels. Some advertisements were contrary to the constitution, and cultural norms, traditions and values, he added.
He also called for proper legislation in order to stop publishing of Quranic verses in newspapers. He also suggested that city governments should place small boxes in their jurisdictions for dropping of all papers having Quranic verses.—APP