ENERGY CRISIS IN PAKISTAN
After thoroughly suffering from the electricity shortage and being humiliated completely, reacting in a typical Pakistani way that is to analyse only after a crisis has set in rather than before, we decided to look into this matter at depth. To our utter surprise we found that while there were many articles passionately discussing various political issues around this matter, there was hardly any objective analysis in a dispassionate manner. Most crucially there is failure to understand this crisis in the broader terms of energy shortage. In this paper we shall try to define the scope of this problem, identify the reasons thereof and try to present possibilities of a comprehensive solution. Do we have the energy crisis of electricity crisis? How are both related? Is there a comprehensive solution to these problems? What is that solution/s? Life on Earth is driven by energy. Energy is more than a need. It is a fundamental requirement and energy per se is crucial to provide for adequate living such as food, water, health care, education, shelter and employment. Electricity is the most convenient form of energy available to Human beings. This energy is fundamental to human well being and prosperity. The strong correlation between the availability of electricity and the level of human social development has been known since at least 1895 with the electrification of Niagara Falls with the then new polyphase alternating current (AC) technology invented by Nikola Tesla.
Therefore the energy crisis is a crisis of human development. It is indeed a matter of life and death. According to a survey done by Gilani Research Foundation nearly 53 percent of the Pakistan’s population remains without electricity far more than 8 hours daily through out the year. Due to thi s crisis the daily life has come to a standstill. Even more ominously the shortage is endangering the future economic and social prospects of the country, putting its very fabric under strain.
W hat we have found in our research however, with a stunned disbelief is, that electricity shortage which is just a manifestation of wider energy crisis is hardly understood by general public and there is the general lack of public consciousness about the immediacy, severity and depth of the energy problem. For the ordinary people, electricity shortage is a calamity of enormous proportions. With their civic and economic life crippled by endemic electricity Website: http://www.thevision21.org/ Blog: http://awaam.wordpress.com/ Phone: 92-51-250 5030
ENERGY CRISIS IN PAKISTAN
shortage, the public still do not completely understand the reasons behind this shortage. Worse is the unjust, inhuman and immoral fact that people have to pay the exorbitant rates set by the government for whatever little electricity is available. The federal minister for water and power says “The costliest electricity is the one which is not available at all”. W ell, who can know this better than the people who are actually paying for this ‘costliest electricity’, through economic and social hardship?
This crisis is a manifestation and a direct result of a deeper rooted problem of institutional decay, structural malaise that afflicts the State and political narrow mindedness and short termism. All these are the consequences of the policies of the elite class and serve their interests only. The rental power plants are, for example, a quick and dirty fix. More than likely vested interests, rather than the interest of Pakistani public have been served in the way this decision has been reached and pushed. The pits is that we are now having Americans come over to sort out as basic a problem as this. It seems there is no end to the depths we will fall to.
What are the consequences?
Dr Khalil Ahmed of Alternate Solutions Institute has succinctly put this in the following words:
‘It is to live in a Guantanamo Bay of...