ISLAMABAD - Amidst uproar from the opposition benches in the Senate, the PML-N government Tuesday said categorically that no funds would be issued for new gas development schemes because of shortage of resources. 

The Senate’s main opposition party, PPP, as well as its ally, ANP, while demanding reversal of the government announcement of ban on new connections, termed it a violation of the Constitution.

“The federal government has not earmarked funds in PSDP to purchase and lay gas pipelines across the country,” said Federal Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during question hour. He said the provinces or parliamentarians would have to provide funding for gas pipeline purchases.

Announcing the decision of implementing urgent fees of Rs 25,000 for new gas connections, the minister said 10 percent of all new connections, after getting approval from the Ogra, would be installed on the basis of urgent fees.

Expressing their strong reaction, lawmakers from PPP and ANP accused the government of violating the Constitution by not giving gas to industrial units in Sindh and KPK. Taking the floor, ANP senior legislator Haji Adeel came down hard on the PML-N government, saying providing gas and water was the basic duty of every government. “It is a constitutional right of the masses,” he said, adding water as well as electricity was being provided by the government from KPK to the entire country not only to the province itself.

PPP Senator Raza Rabbani also accused the federal government of violating Article 158 of the Constitution by not supplying gas to industrial units in Karachi the economic hub of the country.

Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, in a written reply, said Pakistan had urged India to respect the ceasefire agreement and desist from escalating tension along the Line of Control. He said Pakistan had conveyed its serious concerns over the continued ceasefire violations by India.

The adviser said the issue of ceasefire violations also came under discussion during the recent meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The house witnessed uproar over the recent statement by PTI Chief Imran Khan about Kalabagh Dam as PPP and ANP senators remarked they would resist its construction.

PPP Senator Aajiz Dhamra, on a point of order, expressed a strong reaction over the statement of Imran Khan about initiating a campaign for the controversial Kalabagh Dam. He also termed Khan’s statement an insult to the provincial assemblies of the country. “Construction of this dam is tantamount to drying the Sindh province,” he said, adding they would strongly go against this move. PPP’s Raza Rabbani said even the KPK Assembly members had protested the construction of the dam. ANP’s Abdun Nabi Bangash, on a point of order, said KBD had become a dead horse, so the other issues being faced by the masses currently should be resolved. Bangash further said the controversial KBD was not constructed even during the past regimes.

“If the past regimes, including those of military dictators, could not construct it, how Imran Khan will do so,” he questioned.

Earlier, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) proposed formation of a special Senate committee to monitor terrorism and violation of human rights in Karachi. Senate Chairman Nayyar Bokhari, on the proposal of MQM’s Nasreen Jalil, asked the treasury and the opposition to jointly work to form a committee.

Taking the floor, Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan strongly criticised the PML-N government for not taking the opposition on board over the law and order situation, talks with Taliban etc.

The House also adopted a report of Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on The Right to Information Act, 2013. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad presented 2nd biannual monitoring report on the Implementation of National Finance Commission Award for January-June 2012.