Hit them hard – Sohail Iqbal Bhatti


In November 2018, a very friendly person holding a government post invited me for a meeting. The reason for meeting me was my news published in the Daily 92 about his subordinate government agency. Instead of denying the news, he wanted to state the background and national interest of the move.
After stating the national interest and reasons during the meeting, he asked the name of the “source” of the document and the news. After my apology for revealing the name, they insisted on revealing the name of the source, highlighting the possible unpleasant consequences. As the meeting was still going well, I asked a question, sensing the delicacy and bitterness of the situation.
The purpose of asking the question was to dissuade them from insisting on revealing the name of the source of the news and the document. I said, “Despite being a very intelligent, highly educated and a follower of social traditions, the tone and tone you use in Parliament House, Press Conferences, Media Talks and Current Affairs programs for members of the Opposition do not exactly match your personality and family dignity. Why do you prove to be an opposition member instead of a government member despite holding the portfolio of an important ministry? Everyone in your circle of friends regrets the choice of your words and style of expression. Do you do all this out of compulsion or are we all unaware of this aspect of your personality?”
He picked up his mobile phone and quickly turned the chair of the famous brand towards me. He opened the WhatsApp and said read this. The chat contained “Hit them hard”. When I asked the reason for this message, he said, “Monitoring is hard.” If we talk to the opposition leniently for two days, then we get the message from the boss, “Hit them hard”. Sensing surprise and curiosity on my face, he said, “Well, let’s leave this matter now. I guess now you will try to get the news out. I also answered your question and revealed my source. Now you must tell me the source of your news and document”. After a pause I said, “Your monitoring and training is very strict”. After knowing the name of the source, as soon as I leave your office, you should immediately call the head of your subsidiary ask him ‘Hit him hard and report’. He laughed out loud and I just got out of the room feeling safe.
After a long hiatus on Tuesday, I decided to go to Parliament House to get a glimpse of the proposals for a balanced budget and the political situation. But during the budget session, I saw sad and painful scenes beyond my imagination. Opposition’s noisy protests and slogans must have been a tradition but filthy insults were something I could never have imagined. I saw such a funeral of the honor and sanctity of Parliament for the first time in 16 years.
Whenever legislation was enacted for “mutual benefit” in Parliament, all members participated as if a one-party system was in place in Pakistan. On such occasions, there was no abusing, no whistling, no insults and no foul language.
During the speech of the Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif, it seemed as if the grief and frustration of the Prime Minister over the noise and slogans of the opposition members during the first speech of the Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly was renewed among the PTI members. As per the directives issued to them in November 2018, the members of the government are still following the policy of ‘Hit them hard’ wholeheartedly.
On the other hand, on the news of 92 News, NEPRA has taken notice of the amendment in the contracts of two IPPs AES Lal Pir and Pak Jin by the Central Power Purchasing Agency and has sought response from the concerned agencies. Former MD of National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Dr. Khawaja Rifat, termed the amendment to the contract as unconstitutional and an annual burden of Rs. 15 billion on the people, while the Central Power Purchasing Agency claimed a saving of Rs. 19 billion to the national exchequer.
Preliminary investigations are revealing shocking revelations. Former MD NTDC, Dr. Khawaja Rifat, as a CPPA board member, signed the summary of amendments to the agreements. With the approval of Dr. Khawaja Rifat and other board members, the CPPA found a legal way to amend the agreements with both the IPPs. However, the CPPA did not conduct the required legal and financial consultation with all stakeholders after receiving a report of technical impacts on the National Power Control Centre’s system prior to amending the agreement.
Former General Manager Systems Operations Muhammad Ayub gave only operational comments while never agreeing to amend the Power Purchase Agreement. The GMSO had recommended full consultation with all stakeholders but unfortunately the most important recommendation of General Manager Muhammad Ayub was ignored by the CPPA. A study was also conducted by an independent consultant prior to the operational comments.
The CPPA has now linked the amendment of contracts without the approval of the federal government to the wider national interest. In the past, NTDC officials have gone to great lengths to reward IPP owners, but now perhaps time is running out. Is changing All this happened in the wider national interest or in the interest of the IPPs. The final decision will be made by NEPRA.