Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, while addressing a public gathering April 25 at District Jahang, said that there was no load shedding in Karachi, and that only Lahore and Faisalabad face power cuts.
Electricity is the basic element to run industry in Pakistan. Woolen textiles and the cement, sugar, fertilizer and leather industries have played a vital role to boost economy of Pakistan. Pakistan has faced massive power cuts for last five years. Industry is badly hit and many of the industrialists have gone to Bangladesh to do business. Many Punjabi businesses have left the country.
A Faisalabad-based textile manufacturer Sheikh Muhammad Akbar told Truth Tracker, “Massive power load-shedding has killed us economically. Most of the textile industrialists are shifting their business to Bangladesh, Malaysia and other countries.” Thousands of labourers lost their jobs and took to the streets. Violent protests have been witnessed in Punjabi cities.
Shahbaz Sharif was addressing a public gathering at district Jhang when made the statement that People’s Party President Asif Ali Zardari was giving special treatment to Karachi. He said that no load shedding was observed in Karachi Capital City of Sindh Province. He also expressed his concerns over the power cuts in Lahore and Faisalabad the industrial cities of Punjab.
Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz spokesperson Asim Niazi told UPI that he had not heard this statement. However, he said that he had observed no protest in Karachi for at least one year, which indicates there were no power cuts there.
Zahid Khan, Chairman of the Senate standing committee on Water and Power, disagreed with the Sharif’s statement and said that government did do equal load shedding in Karachi. He said it was unfortunate that Pakistan was lacking the required electricity to meet the demand of industry.
Khan said that government had signed an agreement in November 20002 with Karachi Electricity Supply Company (KESC) to help it generate 3000 Mega Watts (MW) of electricity. According to the agreement, the government provided 650 MW to KESC, but even then it failed to generate 3000 MW. Khan said that KESC’s failures worsen the situation in Karachi and industries were affected like that of Punjab.
S.M. Munir, a former president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and a leading industrialist of Karachi, told Truth Tracker: “It is wrong to say that Karachi’s industries were treated in a special way as far as power supply is concerned.” He said that there was extreme load-shedding for industries in Karachi during April, but that it was reduced during May 2013 after negotiations with KESC.
People’s Party government cancelled the agreement with KESC in March 2013, and the government sought recovery in court against KESC. It indicates that the PPP has no favoritism about Karachi.
Karachi has not escaped load-shedding during last several years, although it might at times have been less than industrial areas of Punjab. This makes Shahbaz’s statement mostly false.