World Bank role in drafting Pakistan bill stuns MPs

World Bank role in drafting Pakistan bill stuns MPs

Islamabad: A Pakistani minister’s admission that the World Bank was involved in drafting a law on the countrys natural resources has taken Senators by surprise.

The statement by Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan prompted Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani to seek a written response from the Petroleum Ministry about the extent to which the World Bank was involved, Dawn reported on Thursday.

Minis­ter Khan, while wrapping up a Senate debate, acknowledged that the draft of the Pakistan Petroleum Explo­ration and Production Regu­la­tory Authority Bill had been prepared by a World Bank consultant.

Khan, however, said the draft would be finalized only after consultations with provinces.

Senator Farhatullah Babar had said earlier that “a mysterious move was afoot to deprive the provinces of their rights to develop the petroleum sector by allowing the Petroleum Ministry to grant concessions” in the sector.

He said the government had neither awarded concessions to exploration companies nor allowed the provinces to award concessions in the five years since the Petroleum Policy of 2012 was in operation. He wanted to know why.

“Is this because some powerful lobbies and vested interests are deliberately withholding development of the petroleum sector to allow for import of LNG and other petroleum products?” asked Babar. He called for a thorough investigation into the matter.