Thanks to misconceived policies, the country these days is witnessing perhaps the worst spell of loadshedding in its history, leaving people with no choice but to come out on the streets and give vent to their anger. The agony of the muggy days of Pakistan’s summer and the seemingly unending bouts of darkness, even during Sehr and Iftar hours that affects the religious obligations of those fasting, further raises tempers. That is especially so as loadshedding during Sehr and Iftar is contrary to the specific promises of the government. Besides, the general perception is that the misfortune is a direct consequence of not only the rulers’ ineptitude and bad governance, but also their greed and deliberate refusal to opt for an energy solution that views the interest of the nation as a whole and not from a rigid, short term perspective.
The Punjab calls for specific mention. Ruled by the main opposition party PML-N, it never ceases to incur the not entirely benign intentions of the PPP-led political setup running the affairs of the country. The province has, thus, become a special target of loadshedding; for there could hardly be any other more hurtful move than depriving it of electricity for much longer hours than the rest of the country. There seems to be little realization that if, as a result, industrial units in the province close down and workers laid off, agriculture that feeds not just Punjab but complements the produce of the others as well suffers, and the life of the country’s largest chunk of population is made miserable, everyone is the loser. The policy is downright shortsighted since it could prove disastrous for the PPP because not so far in the future it has to seek the people’s mandate. Its partners in the ruling coalition also burst out in protest during the Senate session on Monday. That the President voiced his concern at the unscheduled loadshedding was considered just posturing.
It is a moment of sobering reflection for the leadership, casting aside all biases and focusing on the means that can, both in immediate and long terms, enable the country to get rid of this crippling crisis. Hydel resource found abundant in the country and waiting to be exploited is at the same time the cheapest and could relieve the people of energy shortage and high tariffs. As experts have been insisting, the Kalabagh Dam figures prominently in whatever policy the government might make to make the country self-sufficient in power generation.