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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Hammad Azhar accuses energy minister of lying over Pak-Russia oil deal

Federal Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan rejected Imran Khan's claim of buying oil and gas from Russia. However, former energy minister Hammad Azhar hit back.

PTI leader and former Energy Minister Hammad Azhar has seemingly accused Federal Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan of lying regarding the purchase of oil from Russia.

To clarify, former Prime Minister Imran Khan defends his controversial visit to Russia by claiming he went there to purchase oil at a cheaper price for Pakistan. However, while talking to the media, Mr. Dastgir rejected Imran Khan’s claim. He also said there is no physical evidence that can confirm Pak-Russia talks on oil.

“I also tell you clearly that the Imran Khan’s claim of buying oil and gas from Russia is absolutely false and baseless, as there is no paper/evidence available with the quarters concerned. Whatever they are claiming in this regard is just a lie,” Mr. Dastgir had said.

As a result, Hammad Azhar hit back at the Minister. Taking to Twitter, he shared a letter that he wrote to Russia’s Energy Minister regarding the matter. As per the letter, Pakistan proposed that “Russia supply two to three cargoes of LNG per month”.

Read more: India buying cheap Russian oil: Why can’t Pakistan?

“New power minister says there is no evidence of communication with Russia over the purchase of discounted oil and gas. Like the story of 27 out-of-order power plants, this also is a lie. Imran Khan as prime minister chaired two meetings on the subject and we were aiming for purchasing first cargoes in April,” Hammad Azhar tweeted.

“Our Ambassador in Moscow was tasked and was actively in touch with the Russian officials regarding this issue. PSO had proposed two transactions in structures. The imported government now needs to tell us why these discussions were discontinued?” Hammad Azhar further added.

Power crisis in Pakistan

On the other hand, Chinese independent power producers (IPPs) have warned Pakistan that they may have to shut down their power plants if the government does not pay the outstanding dues.

To clarify, the companies need the payments to purchase fuel. Without the fuel, their current stock would deplete and they would not be able to generate power anymore.

The Chinese power companies’ warning is indeed alarming for Pakistan. If the power plants shut down, then Pakistan will face a serious electricity shortage, leading to even more load-shedding.

Many cities in Pakistan are already facing long hours of power outage which is adding to the misery of the people, especially in this heat. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had earlier announced that load-shedding will end from May 1st.

Read more: Chinese companies warn of shutting down power plants in Pakistan

However, 10 days later, there is still no respite as cities continue to face daily load-shedding. In fact, the power cuts range from four to six hours in the day and two to four hours at night.