Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has lifted a ban on gas connections for 55 constituencies, consisting of influential politicians and union ministers from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) party, including his son-in-law Mohammad Safdar, while others wait for the waiver. This came as the erstwhile Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government had imposed a ban on new connections in 2011 after a serious shortage of natural gas was reported. According to the Dawn, apart from his son-in-law, Sharif has relaxed ban for Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and also in the constituencies of MNAs belonging to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
However, 35 more such cases are still in pending as the Prime Minister has refused to sign proposals for connecting un-served areas with the network of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL).
These details have been submitted by SNGPL’s counsel to the Islamabad High Court after a petition was filed by Advocate Jahangir Jadoon who is seeking gas connections for his village in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Some legal experts citing an Aug 18, 2016, judgement by the Supreme Court said that the Prime Minister’s approval for releasing direct funding for such projects was illegal.
Supreme Court had observed: “The Constitution does not permit the use/allocation of funds to MNAs/MPAs/notables at the sole discretion of the prime minister or the chief minister. If there is any practice of allocation of funds to the MNAs/MPAs/notables at the sole discretion of the prime minister/chief minister, the same is illegal and unconstitutional.”