LAHORE - All Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Punjab province, in an emergent meeting on Wednesday, urged Punjab Chief Minister to set aside differences with the federal government and lead a delegation of businessmen for a meeting with the President of Pakistan or Prime Minister to raise voice against discriminatory attitude towards Punjab in gas and electricity supply in larger national interest.

They strongly protested at the injudicious distribution of electricity and gas supply and called for an equitable supply.  “Punjab alone must not be made sole victim of power and gas shortage, rather it should be shared amongst all the federating units.”

The heads of all Punjab chambers met at here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday to chalk out a joint strategy against discrimination in supply of gas and electricity that has crippled its industry.

The mood of the Punjab business leaders representing entire trade and industry of the province was very aggressive. Many of them advocated immediate street protests and agitation along with workers. Some of the participants among them however asked them to first give the government a chance to set the things right.

The House also demanded of the government to immediately appoint a full Chairman of the Power Wing that has been working without head for the last over five years.

Participants of the meeting include President of Faisalabad Chamber Zahid Aslam, President of Rawalpindi Chamber Manzar Khurshid, President of Gujrat Chamber of Commerce Adnan Iqbal, President of Sahiwal Chamber of Commerce Ch. Muhammad Hussain, President of Chakwal Chamber of Commerce Sahibzada Abdul Qadous, Vice President of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce Ikram Ul Haq, E.C. member of Bhawalpur Chamber Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, Ms. Rukhsana of Central and Punjab Women Chamber of Commerce, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association Rao Abdul Basit, Senior Vice Chairman of Lahore Township Industrial Association Anees Qadri, Chairman of Ferozepur Road Welfare Organization Tariq Javaid Fiazi, Muhammad Aslam Kamyana of All Pakistan PVC Pipe Manufacturers Association, LCCI former Presidents Tariq Hameed, Mian Muhammad Ashraf and Mian Anjum Nisar threw light on serious issues being faced by the industrial sector. The LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry would utilize all available resources for ensuring equitable supply of gas and electricity to the industry in Punjab.

He said that it did not make any sense gas is available to the industry in some parts of the country while there is no gas for Punjab.

The LCCI Senior Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh pointed out that the gas disruption and over 12 hours power loadshedding have resulted in closure of numerous industrial units through out the province rendering millions of workers jobless. The Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad said that the government discriminatory attitude towards Punjab is forcing the businessmen to take to the streets.

The President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zahid Aslam said that the discrimination in supply of electricity and gas is not acceptable for the businessmen and called for early construction of big dams.

President RCCI Manzar Khurshid said that there should be separate feeders for industrial and domestic consumers. He suggested that the government should divert the subsidy of Public Sector Enterprises towards the circular debt to end it once for all.

Vice President of Sialkot Chamber Ikram-ul-Haq said that due to electricity shortage, the businessmen of Sialkot have lost the export orders of Rs.20 billion so far and if the situation remains the same, the exports would further nose dived.

President of Bahawalpur Chamber Majeeb-ur-Rehman called for early completion of Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project.

President Gujrat Chamber of Commerce Adnan Khan advocated for promotion of solar energy technology in the country to overcome the electricity shortage and control oil import bill.

Former Chairman WAPDA Tariq Hameed gave a detailed presentation to the presidents of all the chambers of commerce in the province and apprised them of installed capacity and its availability in various seasons. He said that WAPDA has 10 hydle projects in the pipeline but none would be functional within next four years even if construction work is started right now.