Successive floatation of OGDCL`s shares in the past has left it with only 75pc holdings, of which 10pc is again being floated in the shortest possible time, as okayed by the cabinet committee. As though we all have a short memory or are so preoccupied by the sit-ins that we have forgotten Merrill Lynch International and Citigroup; now they are back with a vengeance. The PPP government’s dole-out of the Qadipur Gas Field had been stalled by the OGDCL labour union’s strong protests in 2008. As former managing director of the OGDCL, I exposed the ill-intended sale in my letter `Qadirpur Gas Field Sellout` (Oct 21, 2008) which helped raise the matter in the Senate and the National Assembly.

Lest we forget, Shaukat Aziz quietly gave on a platter 20pc government shares in the Badin Oilfields to the operator, BP, for a paltry $73m, which was less than the annual oil import substitute from that holding. The government now expects to get about $800m by floating 10pc shares of OGDCL. Isn`t it mind-boggling that by not floating these shares, OGDCL`s 10pc revenue would equal the same amount in just over three years anyway? The same would be applicable to the sale of the government`s shares in the PPL and Mari Gas. OGDCL employees should not be alone in to stopping the PML-N`s bid to sell out these shares to perhaps the same infamous beneficiaries of the 1990s and 2000s.

This matter must be raised in both the Senate and the National Assembly. If we are sincere about turning our energy security dream into reality, we simply can`t afford to part with our strategic petroleum assets. We must also seriously address all other Pakistan-specific energy security dictates, which include rationalization of our institutional, regulatory and structural framework, formulation of energy policy, correction of energy mix for power generation, establishment of world-class institutes and research centres in diverse fields of energy, development of strategic stock of crude oil, to keep the wheel rolling, acquisition of indigenization of technology for exploration and production at affordable prices, and, of course, eradication of corrupt practices like this sell-out.

MAJ-GEN (R) PARVEZ AKMAL,

Islamabad, September 24.