LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday that he would not let anyone open fire on the power protestors. He said protests against loadshedding were natural and he was standing by the people, not by ‘Ali Baba and 40 thieves,’ a term he used against President Zardari and his associates.
He was commenting on the protests and riots in the wake of the power crisis while speaking in the Punjab Assembly. Shahbaz said the electricity crisis could be solved if the public money, looted through the NRO, NICL, RPPs and other corrupt practices, was brought back to the country. He said Punjab had contributed Rs11 billon in the NFC Award for the sake of the federation but despite that sacrifice, stepmotherly treatment was meted out to the province.
He said the Punjab was also ready to pay Rs5 billion for solution to the crisis but it was only possible if the circular debt of Rs400 bn was retired and the looted money of the people was brought back to the country.
During the speech of the CM, the situation remained tense in the assembly due to the vociferous sloganeering by some women MPAs of the PML-Q who kept interrupting the leader of the House while asking him to answer for his four years performance while Treasury members failed to stop them.
Shahbaz, coming hard on the central government, said that it was a matter of sheer embarrassment for the entire nation that a friendly country had offered cheap electricity to Pakistan but the rulers paid no heed towards it.
He further said that the last Energy Conference, held in Lahore on April 9, which he mentioned as ‘Iqbal Day,’ was held on his request and in it he had made request that discrimination should not be made with the Punjab regarding loadshedding.
He said he had asked the participants of the conference how he would face the people of the Punjab who had given a sacrifice of Rs11bn in the NFC award but they were receiving loadshedding in return. He said he was unduly criticised by the central government for not implementing the decisions of the Energy Conference.