PM Imran orders crackdown on gas & power pilferers

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Thursday ordered indiscriminate action against those involved in power and gas pilferage.
Talking to Minister for Power Omar Ayub and Special Assistant Nadeem Babar, who called on him in Islamabad, the prime minister said that those involved in gas and power pilferage should be exposed before the masses.
During the meeting, Omar Ayub briefed the prime minister about the reforms taken in the energy sector. He also informed PM Imran about the success achieved in the countrywide campaign against gas and power theft.
Earlier on April 15, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan on had warned of strict actions against power pilferage.
In an interview, Omar Ayub Khan had said that over 30,000 cases had been registered against power theft and about 3,000 people involved in power pilferage had been sent behind the bars during the ongoing drive against electricity theft.
The minister had said that at least 400 employees of WAPDA had also been suspended over different charges.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday extended gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for extending a helping hand to Pakistan in testing times.
Prince Fahd bin Sultan, the governor of Tabuk province of the kingdom, called on the prime minister at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) in Islamabad Thursday.
The prime minister assured the visiting dignitary of his participation at the upcoming summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to be held in Makkah. “I’ll participate in the OIC summit,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Tabuk governor said they are looking forward to the prime minister’s visit of the kingdom to attend the OIC summit.
A day earier, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had said that Saudi Arabia will supply oil worth $3.2 billion to Pakistan on deferred payments for three years.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that oil supply from Saudi Arabia on deferred payments will start from July and added that the Kingdom would supply $275 million oil to Islamabad on monthly basis from next month.
The advisor further said, “Oil supply from Saudi Arabia will improve balance of payments.” He thanked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his continuous support to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan felicitated his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on winning another five-year term after a landslide victory in general election on Thursday.
“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” he tweeted.
The tweet came after India’s counting of hundreds of millions of votes in its general election on Thursday showed a coalition led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party taking an early lead.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is expected to surpass the 272 seats needed to command a majority in the lower house of parliament.
Official data from India’s Election Commission showed the BJP ahead in 324 seats, with the main opposition Congress Party ahead in 107. The non-aligned parties clinched 111 seats. There are 542 seats available.
Trends are expected to be known by noon and final results are due by Thursday evening.
The NDA’s predicted margin of victory is larger than surveys indicated in the run-up to the vote, when most polls showed it would be the largest alliance but would fall short of an overall majority.
Modi was under pressure when he began campaigning, losing three state elections in December amid rising anger over farm prices and unemployment.
However, campaigning shifted towards India’s relationship with nuclear-armed rival Pakistan after a suicide car bomb killed 40 Indian police in the contested Kashmir region in February, to the benefit of the right-wing BJP, analysts said.
“National security became the discussion,” said Harsh Pant, a political analyst at the Observer Research Foundation think tank in New Delhi. “It allowed the BJP to shirk some issues where it was weak.”
The BJP has also capitalized on the star power of Modi, a frenetic campaigner, as well as superior financial resources.
It outspent Congress by six times on Facebook and Google advertising, data showed, and by as much as 20 times overall, sources told Reuters earlier this month.
“The longer election certainly helps Modi: he loves contact with the people,” Pant said. “The BJP’s electoral machinery is also much more effective on the ground.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned MPA Ali Gohar Khan on Thursday and expressed his grief and sorrow over death of his brother Late Federal Minister Sardar Ali Muhammad Mahar.
The Prime Minister prayed to Almighty Allah to shower his blessings upon the departed soul and give patience to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss with fortitude.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also telephoned PPP senior leader Qamar Zaman Kaira today and expressed grief and sorrow over the death of his son. – NN