PML-N leader Miftah Ismail on Monday advised Energy Minister Hammad Azhar against seeking a public debate with anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada, reminding the PTI leader that his job was to end gas loadshedding and ensure uninterrupted supply rather than win arguments.
On November 19, the energy minister had challenged Khanzada to a debate on energy crisis, which he said would be moderated by a neutral panel. “Let the people see the facts without persistent interrupting, volume controls, teleprompters etc,” he had tweeted.
The duo had previously had a heated debate on the country’s power sector woes that resulted in a series of back-and-forth responses.
During a press conference in Karachi today, Ismail addressed the challenge issued by Azhar, saying: “They [the government] can’t provide [gas] three times [in a day] so my request is to the minister that abandon this debate … winning the argument won’t bring gas.”
The PML-N leader said that the time for having debates was up. “Your government has been in power for three and a half years so provide gas and don’t argue,” he added.
He advised the minister that Khanzada and all other critics would go quiet themselves if uninterrupted supply of gas was ensured across the country.
Ismail said that additional gas terminals should be set up, reminding the minister of the government’s promise to set up more terminals soon as he rued a lack of progress on that front.
“We will suffer in the winter so set up terminals … don’t just talk [and give empty statements]. Arguing with Shahzeb Khanzada won’t bring forth terminals. They are set up by actually working and you can’t seem to do that.”
“Work on the gas pipeline project connecting Karachi to Punjab should also begin,” the PML-N leader demanded.
“You can win four arguments with Shahzeb Khanzada, do nine tweets, get trolling done against him and say whatever you can — [but] no matter how much you talk, gas won’t travel up until you install the pipeline.”
Ismail also called for gas to be supplied at cheaper rates to the export industry and to avoid hiking of its tariff.
“If the minister accepts this then I think this will be a great personal favour for me and for Pakistan’s industry and consumers,” Ismail noted.