With winter just around the corner, a threatening gas crisis has been created and/or predicted by authorities, claiming that shortfall will be the highest ever – 1,400 million cubic feet per day. Furthermore, according to the same sources, the shortfall will compel the government to curtail gas supply to domestic consumers limited to cooking hours only while the supply to the industrial sector will be halted for three months. Arif Hameed, of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited, elaborated that the regulated supply will be applied during cooking hours three times per day. This newly announced policy commences in November and will remain till January.

SNGPL’s plan to limit gas supply holds a counterproductive outcome for those in Punjab as textile industry owners and common citizens have previously voiced. In simple terms, with a limited gas supply offered at only three times per day, the workers of factories, mills and other industries will not only face impediments at work, but also at home when there will be no source of fuel to warm themselves with. These problems may not seem much to those with centrally-heated houses, but for the average man this limited supply only worsens life conditions in Punjab where the winter means freezing weather and blinding fog. The three-month halting of gas supply will affect the outcome of the industry and aggravate citizens into unfavorable actions. A second proposal was stated to allocate fixed weekly quotas for CNG stations. It will be up to the station to exhaust its quota in a day or a week. It seems as if the next tourist attraction in Punjab will be endless lines of vehicles awaiting fuel to make it home.

The lack of rationale behind the proposals compels one to ask the provincial government to elaborate their take regarding the SNGPL’s plan. The same government that decried the previous PPP’s ‘discriminatory policies’ and vowed never to do the same, is now curiously backing out on its lofty promises. It is understood that the ones bearing the brunt of this decreased supply will be common citizens who were not born into the luxurious fortune of owning opulent residences – such as the governor’s house – that shine bright and stay cozy in bone-chilling cold due to the dozens of generators running simultaneously for the ones inside. As Punjab prepares to slide back to living conditions resembles the Stone Ages, we hope the PMLN government at the province and the center remembers its cries against the previous gas shortages, and how they stirred a tired and frustrated public at the time. The same formula will -- and should -- now be utilized by the opposition, to give voice to the anger of folks left outside in the cold.