Minister of State for Petroleum, Musadik Malik, announced that the Pakistani government would stop the supply of cheap natural gas to power producers selling electricity to the national grid at exorbitant rates. Speaking at a press conference, Malik said the Cabinet Committee on Energy had decided to end “exploitation” by some power companies by “stopping supply to the rich and providing cheap gas to the public at large”. The policy would encourage competition among companies, leading to competitive prices for consumers, he said. The government’s move will prevent landlords and building owners from exploiting tenants by forcing them to pay high energy bills for privately supplied energy resources.
In the same press conference, Malik revealed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced the establishment of a refinery costing between $10 billion and $14 billion. The minister was optimistic that the new refinery would create jobs and reduce Pakistan’s dependence on imported fuel. It will also help boost the country’s economy by increasing energy production and reducing production costs for industries, he said. Malik added that the government was actively working on a new energy policy that would focus on creating energy from LPG, LNG, and solar resources.
Addressing the passing-out parade of cadets at the PAF Academy Asghar Khan in Risalpur, Prime Minister Shehbaz said that Pakistan was a peace-loving nation that wished to maintain friendly ties with all countries, especially its neighbors. “However, our desire for peace must not be misunderstood as weakness,” he said, adding that there could be no peace in South Asia without a just and fair settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with the UN resolutions and the aspirations of Kashmir people. He praised the role of the armed forces, including the air force, police, and intelligence community, in neutralizing threats to national security.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office announced that PM Shehbaz would head to the UK to attend the coronation of Britain’s King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla on May 6. Prior to the coronation, he is expected to participate in an event for Commonwealth leaders in London and will hold bilateral meetings with leaders participating in the celebrations.