Punjab's excess consumption of natural gas angers Sindhudesh leading to intense protest
 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 09-Oct-2017

Islamabad, October 9: Sindhudesh is a major supplier of natural gas in Pakistan accounting for 69% of the total supply and consumes 45% of gas. But due to consumption of natural gas by other states in large scale has led Sindhudesh to worry as the region itself is facing with the shortage now. Therefore, the Sindh government has registered its protest over the massive consumption of gas by Punjab.

 

Notably, the Sindh government is protesting heavily against the over-consumption of natural gas and took this matter with the federal government and emphasized the need for implementing Article 158 of the constitution. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also argued that if the federal government will not take any action or not implements article 158 of the constitution then he will take the issue to court.

Article 158 says, “The province in which a wellhead of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from that wellhead subject to the commitments and obligations as on the commencing day.”

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the article was very clear, but the federal government was not implementing it despite the fact that Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan were in agreement on the issue. If the federal government will not implement this article then the provinces would be compelled to approach courts.

However, in a recent meeting to settle down the issue, it was pointed out that the dispute should be referred to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) – an inter-provincial body having representation from all provinces. But the finance minister of Punjab countered that legal opinion should be sought prior to taking up the matter at the CCI. In case of deadlock at the CCI, the issue may be referred to a joint sitting of parliament for resolution.

Interestingly, Sindh contributes 69% of the total supply and consumes 45% of gas. While Punjab has a share of just 4% in gas production, but it consumes 43% of the total. Balochistan contributes 17% to the country’s gas production whereas Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has a 10% share. Both of them consume 7% each.

Punjab is a major gas consumer and in the coming time demand of natural gas will grow effectively. Pakistan’s gas shortfall has widened to 4 billion cubic feet per day with demand growing to 8 bcfd and supply remaining restricted to 4 bcfd. Importantly, in coming days consumer demand for natural gas but since the year 2000, the production of gas remained stagnant.