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Probe into Progas purchase deal demanded?

Islamabad: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday demanded independent probe into purchase of a LPG terminal at inflated prices by a gas distribution company.

The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) bought scrap terminal of insolvent Progas Pakistan Limited on 500 per cent inflated rates which was illegal and against its mandate, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

The owners of the company gone cash-strapped in 2009, Mr. Abbas Bilgrami and Omar Saboor, closely linked with an influential official of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, left country after receiving payment, he added.

MD SSGC Azim Iqbal Siddiqui was forced to make the purchase while his resistance proved futile. The friction eventually resulted in resignation of Mr. Siddiqui on November 05 citing ‘personal grounds’ which was immediately accepted, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal. He said that one of the reason behind current CNG crisis in the struggle of the said influential official who wants to defend the unjustified Progas deal.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that recently the petroleum ministry moved a controversial summary in the Economic Coordination Council to phase out CNG gradually and promote LPG. The move was aimed at forcing masses to use LPG in cars in a bid to justify the purchase of Progas terminal by SSGC at Rs2.45 billion. The terminal located at Port Qasim was able to handle only ten thousand tonnes of LPG in one year becoming a white elephants like other state-owned entities surviving on subsidies, he informed.

It has also exposed the stated claims of the deal to import LPG to add in the system to overcome natural gas shortages.Dr. Mughal demanded of the Supreme Court to probe the deal and bring to book those who used national resources to oblige friends.

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