RAJA Pervez Ashraf’s cabinet is reported to have approved the Iran - Pakistan gas pipeline deal with the price of gas fixed at $13 per unit. The current price of domestic gas being charged by Sui gas distribution companies is $3.50 per unit. The enormous difference in gas prices will cause great damage to Pakistan’s economy, further reduce whatever is left of industrial production and intensify sufferings of the common man.
Developing more domestic gas fields in future will also not compensate for crippling burden caused by exorbitant gas prices being decided. The terms of independent power projects (IPP) contracts, approved about two decades ago, are an example which have taken the electricity costs to unaffordable level and continue to have their devastative effects on our economy.
A similar situation is developing if the gas price being fixed is allowed to be approved. The representatives of global oil cartel stationed in Islamabad have ensured that Pakistan does not further develop domestic gas fields which could reduce our oil imports. The use of CNG in the transport sector has been effectively scuttled for the same reason.
It appears to be a parting kick by this team of expert deal - makers occupying Islamabad before they are forced to leave the government as result of coming elections. Political parties in the opposition, civil society, the media and the judiciary must oppose this deal if the price is not brought closer to our existing domestic gas price.
COL (Rtd) NAZIR AHMED