Karachi        -       Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said that as per Article 158 of the constitution, Sindh had the first right on the gas produced here, and censured Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan for his ‘biased’ remarks. Speaking during the Sindh Assembly session, Murad said that the elected government of Sindh would protect rights of the province. “I condemn the irresponsible statement made by the federal minister,” he added.Demanding that the constitutional right of people of Sindh on the natural

gas produced in the province be accepted, the chief minister said his government would never purchase the imported gas (LNG).Referring to the media talk by Federal

Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister

(SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Baber, in which they had claimed that the Sindh government had agreed on weightage average cost of gas (WACOG),

the chief minister said it was totally baseless. “I had taken up the matter at the CCI meeting and had requested

the participants to accept the constitutional right of people of Sindh on the gas produced in the province,” he said, and added that the prime minister

had accepted his plea under Article

158 of the constitution.Murad said that two days after the CCI meeting, which was held on December

23, 2019, he wrote a letter to the prime minister on December 25, and apprised him of his concerns over the statements made by his ministers on Article 158 of the constitution.The prime minister, in his reply, had said that he [CM] was pre-empting the minutes of the CCI meeting. The Prime minister advised him to wait for the minutes and see them, if he [CM] would have any objection on them, he [prime minister] would remove them accordingly.

He added that the minutes of the CCI meeting should have been issued

within a week but still were being awaited.Murad said that the province was producing 25000 to 26000 mmcfd of gas, but in return it was hardly receiving

800 to 900 mmcfd.He said that the price of local gas was Rs820/unit while that of LNG was Rs1690. “On one hand, they [federal government] are not giving us our gas and on the other forcing us to purchase costly gas,” he said, and questioned “Why will we opt for the imported gas when we are producing 70 percent of the national production?” He said, “Our stance is very clear that give our people their constitutional right on the natural gas .”The Sindh CM rubbished the claim made by the federal minister and the SAPM that Sindh had agreed to purchase

LNG. He said that he had written another

letter to the PM with the request

to stop his ministers from issuing

baseless statements on such an important issue.‘OPPOSITION BEING NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK’Separately, amid the opposition’s protest, the Assembly passed ‘The Establishment

of The Office Of The Ombudsman

for The Province of Sindh (Amendment) Bill, 2020’ that takes away the power to appoint the ombudsman

from the governor, and empower

the CM to do so. Later, the House