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Chronic energy crisis

Chronic energy crisis

The country has been facing chronic energy crisis for the last over three decades and the successive governments in Islamabad have failed to take concrete steps to bolster energy supplies. Pakistan has lost precious time — one and half decade of General Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari’s tenures – when it could have constructed new dams and find alternative energy resources. However, a fewer electricity generation projects were started during the tenures of the two leaders but nothing has been achieved. The projects started by them either closed down or rendered ineffective due to alleged corruption and mismanagement. The business and industrial sectors need new electricity connections while domestic consumption is also required to be improved. But in the absence of concrete efforts, the country is still facing electricity shortage despite the present government has completed three years out of five years of its legal tenure. The demand of electricity is growing but supply is shrinking at the same rate.

According to experts, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is meeting in Tashkent this month and it is hoped that Pakistan will be able to secure funds for energy and other infrastructure projects. The government is also pinning high hopes on the meeting and apparently is able to meet all the procedural requirements to join the body. A full membership to the organization will open a vista of investment opportunities in the country. The organization is an important and effective forum that discusses economy, stability, security and investment. The organization has set up an energy club to extend financial assistance to energy projects in various countries. Pakistan is already facing challenges from the hostile countries which do not want Islamabad to be self-reliant in energy sector. However, weak policies and lethargy on the part of the government machinery is also responsible for most of the woes in the country. Various world financial institutions are ready to fund Kalabagh Dam project but Indian money is working as many politicians are on the payroll of New Delhi and they would not like to see Pakistan self-reliant in energy sector.

The government is now weighing options to invite foreign investment in energy projects in the country. A detailed briefing has recently been arranged for diplomats and representatives of international financial institutions to improve energy supplies in the next six years. The government is hopping that it will attract $76 billion investment to build infrastructure and improve energy supplies. Apart from the electricity generation, the government is also planning to revive Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project and remove bottlenecks in the way of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. People do not know the implications of diplomatic relations and conflicts in the international affairs. They want electricity and that is all.