Uniform load shedding for all, decides cabinet

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday decided that load shedding would be conducted across all provinces uniformly.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, was told by the Ministry of Water and Power that the power production had increased while the shortfall had reduced to 3,500MW. The meeting decided that there would be no load shedding during Taraveeh‚ Sehr and Iftar timings during the holy month of Ramadan. The cabinet was apprised that an additional 2,000MW of electricity would be added to the national grid by the end of this year.

The cabinet also approved an increase in seats of minority members in the national and provincial assemblies and formed a committee comprising three ministers for assessing the degree to which the quota would be increased. Earlier, Minister In-charge for National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti sought more seats for minorities in the Senate, national and provincial assemblies, citing an increase in the national population.

The minister urged the provincial and FATA administration to encourage employment of minority members in all public and private sectors. To raise the number of minority seats, the Constitution’s Article 51 would be amended, the cabinet decided. Briefing reporters on the cabinet meeting, Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira said the cabinet had approved a Rs 2.5 billion Ramadan package. Under the package, 57,000 utility stores throughout the country would offer subsidies on a number of daily use items.

He said Prime Minister Ashraf had directed the Utility Stores Corporation to make immediate arrangements for providing the facility in FATA. He said that the cabinet was briefed on the load shedding situation and informed that power generation had increased to 13,650MW. Kaira said the cabinet had approved in principle to increase quote for non-Muslims in the national and provincial assemblies in proportion to the country’s population. He said the prime minister had informed the cabinet that he had received a letter from the Supreme Court registrar through the attorney general, in which the registrar had sought information about progress on implementation of NRO verdict. – PT