Bipartisan call in NA to control load shedding

* Treasury, opposition benches ask govt to take concrete measures * Walkout by MQM over non-issuance of passport, CNIC to Altaf

ISLAMABAD: The treasury and opposition benches in the National Assembly (NA) on Friday called upon the government to take concrete measures to rein in power load shedding in the country.
Speaking about the diversion of gas from CNG and industry to the power plants, PPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar said it is a temporary arrangement and not a permanent solution to load shedding. While noting that the circular debt is growing day by day, he claimed that the government has paid Rs 450 billion to powerhouses without audit. He said the circular debt has now reached Rs 350 billion. Meanwhile, Sahibzada Tariqullah of the Jamaat-e-Islami said Bhasha Dam has been inaugurated but work on it has not been started.
He also said that CNG stations remain open for 24 hours to provide gas to metro bus in Lahore. The incomplete debate on load shedding of electricity in the country on the last day of the session saw the government under severe criticism for not honouring the promises to end it after despite being in power for one year. It remained incomplete because when Federal Minister Khawaja Asif was about to give the wind-up speech in response to the opposition’s onslaught, the House was abruptly prorogued due to lack of quorum, which was pointed out by PPP’s MNA Shagufta Jumani. 
“What happened to your election slogans of ending load shedding in just three months?” Shagufta Jamani’s asked the ruling party. Syed Naveed Qamar said the government should take concrete measures to address the issue of load shedding. Whereas, Sahibzada Tariqullah regretted that load shedding of eighteen to twenty hours was still being carried out in some areas. Sheikh Rashid also criticised the government’s performance, and observed that it had failed in ending load shedding and maintaining law and order in the country. 
At the outset of the proceedings, Jamshed Dasti caught the attention of the members and those sitting in the galleries by resorting to shouting when the Speaker did not give him the floor. He continued his “speech” with his mike off to condemn a private TV channel for a controversial programme. He opined that the government did not want action against the TV channel. Earlier, taking part in the debate, Fazlur Rehman of the JUI-F asked the government to take action against Geo TV for telecasting obscene content. 
He said PEMRA should be directed to take action against the channel. The deputy speaker also did not give floor to Sher Akbar Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami, who wanted to move a resolution against a private TV channel and to talk about the curfew imposed in his constituency, Buner District. The House also saw a walkout by the MQM members over non-issuance of passport and computerised national identity card to their leader, Altaf Hussain. 
MQM’s parliamentary leader Abdul Rasheed Godel said that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has collected the data of Altaf Hussain from his House, and the MQM leader was entitled to the document. Syed Asif Hasnain and MQM legislators also protested non-issuance of passport to Altaf Hussain and walked out from the House. 
Earlier, the House was informed that food authorities have been established in the provinces to check adulteration in edible items. Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Parveen Masood Bhatti, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid said the provincial governments are also enforcing relevant laws to curb adulteration.

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