Let’s put it directly, after the huge PML-N sweep, mainstream expects that Nawaz Sharif should come up with complete homework; PML N government should not be direction less, at least, this time, because after all they have a strong portfolio in taking maximum turns to sit in government. So experience counts and must be evident in settling core issues faster than ever. In nutshell, they would have to hit the ground running.
That was what we expect, but experience actually colors a different picture, because it is quite rare that expectations come true. PML-N government has major domestic challenges and serious terrorism menace ahead and even maintaining balanced relations with China, India and America is a challenge as well. It is said that PML N made an independent government this time just because of the failure of PPP and their wrong policies to plunge people into power outage. It becomes even tougher for PML-N now, because they have always been blaming PPP government for the undue load shedding and the follow-on agony of the innocent people.
Apart from this, Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister of Punjab Mr. Shahbaz Sharif had fervently claimed during his election campaign to diminish power outage in six months to two years, and even for this purpose he had also proficiently volunteered to take the ministry of water and electricity. How can the nation forget his promising proclamations?
Even Sharif brothers know this fact, so in his recent statements, Nawaz Sharif has started making people realize that the energy crisis needs time to get settled. People can feel and understand this sudden decline in passion. The question is that what actually should be the strategy to resolve this crisis? People are eager to know. World Bank says Pakistan Peak demand is more than 14,000 MW while the total capacity is 19,500 MW which is not sufficient due to variation in water availability. Moreover, the demand is growing and is expected to reach 447,000 by year 2020.
Hydro power or thermal units are the main resources used to meet energy demands; it means that Pakistan is spending a very large amount of foreign exchange to purchase the furnace. The gas reserves have already started to diminish and the oil markets are skyrocketing. There is over 40 percent dependence on gas, while 30 percent of all our power is acquired through oil. Around 70 percent of oil is imported which is around 90 million bbl/ month. The funds spent on the import of energy producers and their fuel is a huge burden on the already deteriorating economy. This ‘energy crisis’ is widely discussed even on a desk in a classroom and is voiced in the national assembly floors, because this crisis was followed by excruciating sufferings of the common people.
Majority thinks that in 2013 elections, PPP government has been faded away due to its incompetency to overcome energy crisis for last five years. It is also said that even PML N government could face a major crisis if they won’t be able to deliver the decisive way out of this energy crisis. So it is definitely a hard line task for the record third time trusted Mr Nawaz Sharif, first to address domestic problems like power outage, to satisfy the masses who have given him mandate to get relief in return.
What we really need to focus is to utilize all our natural energy resources which have been wasted for years. We should use hydro Energy and setting up dams to use power potential. But the fact is that we have been unable to bring Kalabagh dam out of the papers. The wind energy map for Pakistan provided by United States confirms a strong wind corridor in Sindh coastal area. And the “wind corridor’ in the coastal area of Sindh alone has the capacity to generate 50,000 MW. But who will turn this wind energy into a real conservation plan.
PML N talks about diverting thermal power plants into coal based plants to get rid of furnace oil import. But how could it be implemented? In the Thar area, Pakistan has the 7th largest coal reserve in the world and yet Pakistan only produces 0.2% of its electricity from coal. Why is it so? Why did any previous government including Nawaz Sharif not use this reserve to produce energy whereas coal is one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity; globally, the share of coal in power generation is 38 percent, compared to 0.2 percent in Pakistan. Our country could generate 10,000 MW from coal. But none of the earlier governments contributed to maneuver an effective strategy for this purpose, which ultimately would result into the relief provided to the electricity-deprived nation.
Pakistan’s energy infrastructure is poorly managed. A strong strategy needs to be devised to practically implement all these illusions. When the mandate has been achieved on the pledge of working out energy crisis, then a strong initiative must be taken, at least by purging class difference even in power outage. As a nation, we remain in darkness at least for 12 to 18 hours, whereas the people we select as our representatives, who are a fractional part of our nation do not face load shedding during national assembly sessions, and while they are sitting in their luxurious President or PM house. Can they really feel the pain that we suffer? Yes, they can, only when there would be a sudden power outage during assembly session, respected speaker would immediately take notice, I think.
If electricity supply would equally be interrupted in Prime Minister or President House, as it falls short in the whole country, then a quick and comprehensive strategy to overcome the issue would surely be devised. So this is the right time for the newly elected and trusted government to take the initiative and to make the precise decisions, not to win the confidence of public, but to sustain it.
PML-N has also been complaining that they could not complete their tenures in their prior two governments. But unfortunately they always overlook the corruption records and money laundering scandals during their short regimes. When it comes to foreign relations and tackling terrorism, they are also priority issues, need to be addressed timely. Nawaz Sharif has also mentioned to precede negotiations with Taliban, in his recent statements. How much would it be supportive in dealing with the terrorism peril? As we have wasted billion of dollars on others’ war on terror. And in this scenario, how would we be able to sustain our relations with America and India? What priority must be set and what challenge needs to be settle earlier?
Would the emerging party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s Chairman Mr, Imran Khan be in a position to bring ‘change’ in Khyber Pakhtunkha? Would Imran Khan run a strong opposition in National Assembly? In last five years of democracy, we were plunged into darkness through unannounced and extreme power outage. There is a hope for next five years of democracy that this darkness will be vanished. But don’t expect light to be the substitute of darkness. A journey of one democratic government to another seems to be a journey from darkness to illusion. Because even this time, illusions are stronger than what we call light!!! So once again, stay hopeful.