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Hammad Azhar challenges top anchorperson to a debate on gas crisis

Amid a series of heated Twitter exchanges, Minister of Energy Hammad Azhar recently challenged leading anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada to a debate on gas issues. He also demanded that independent and neutral experts on the matter moderate the debate.

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Twitter is currently witnessing a dispute between Minister of Energy Hammad Azhar and top anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada on Pakistan’s liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Amid a series of heated public exchanges, Hammad Azhar recently challenged Khanzada to a debate on gas issues. He also demanded that independent experts moderate the debate.

“I would like to challenge Shahzeb Khanzada to debate LNG and gas issues with me moderated by a neutral anchor and with independent experts. Let the people see the facts without persistent interrupting, volume controls, teleprompters, etc,” he wrote.

The issue initially began when Shahzeb Khanzada warned of an expected gas shortage during the winter season. He explained that during the winter season the government will only have 10 LNG cargoes, despite having a capacity of 14 LNG cargoes. However, in the winter the demand racks up to more than 14 cargoes.

Read more: Pakistan Energy Mix: Overview of Gas Sector (Upstream)

He also discussed a report by National Electric Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on the impending gas crisis while questioning the government about the delay in the purchase of LNG.

Reacting to the show, the Minister had questioned the segment’s reporting, saying that it is a sign of “lack of knowledge”.

A heated exchange

The Minister then took part in Shahzeb Khanzada’s show to set the record straight. While referring to the NEPRA report, Khanzada questioned the government’s delay in purchasing LNG.

On the other hand, the Minister resolutely maintained that the government ordered the LNG in a timely manner. He also said that the NEPRA report was not about LNG, but in fact, load balancing.

However, Khanzada again pointed to the report and highlighted how the regulator could not get the required volume of fuel despite conveying its demand to the quarters concerned.

The exchange increasingly began intense as both the men squabbled on air. At one point, Hammad Azhar told Shahzeb Khanzada to calm down.

Since the show aired, both Hammad Azhar and Shahzeb Khanzada have been taking shots at each other.

Read more: Hammad Azhar slams Dawn for publishing fake news

Shahzeb Khanzada vs Hammad Azhar

Reacting to Hammad Azhar’s challenge, Shahzeb Khanzada claimed that after the show, the minister was invited multiple times to present his side of the facts. However, there was no positive response.

Meanwhile, the Minister accused the anchor of deliberately ignoring his challenge for fear of being called out on account of misrepresenting facts.

“Because he himself knows that for three years he kept telling people the wrong reasons for the shortage of gas in winter and also ran a completely wrong campaign on the purchase of LNG,” the Minister tweeted.

 

Needless to say, the public exchange between Hammad Azhar and Shahzeb Khanzada has left Twitter divided. Many applauded showed support to the Minister for explaining the context of the report. On the other hand, Shahzeb Khanzada also received praise for doing what journalists are supposed to do, i.e. raise questions on important issues.

Read more: Assange indictment: Attack against freedom of press and journalism

 

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