No more outages? Pakistani daily mocks minister

February 8th, 2012 - 1:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Feb 8 (IANS) “When our dear minister tells us there won’t be any loadshedding from tomorrow, we’re very, very suspicious,” said a Pakistani daily after Water and Power Minister Naveed Qamar said outages would stop overnight.

Calling the power crisis the biggest problem for the average Pakistani, an editorial in the News International said mockingly: “The minister for water and power has spoken.”

It was referring to Qamar’s announcement Monday on the floor of the National Assembly that there would be no more power cuts from Feb 7, 2012.

The paper said: “Understandably, power consumers have been left more than a little perplexed…Looking at Pakistan from the outside, militancy and terrorism may be the big worry, but with no electricity to switch on lights at home, and no job because the factory you worked in has been shut down, the power crisis is the biggest problem for the average Pakistani and one that permeates his or her everyday existence at every level.”

“So when our dear minister tells us that there won’t be any loadshedding from tomorrow, we’re very, very suspicious.”

It asked sarcastically: “How, after all, will the issue of debt of Independent Power Producers be resolved within the next few days, as Naveed Qamar says it will be? What are the ‘reforms’ introduced to resolve the power crisis overnight? What do we know about this mysterious plan ‘to produce to 88,480 MW power in the next 14 years’ and why should we trust it?”

The editorial said for a country which has an installed capacity of more than 18,000 MW, producing less than 10,000 MW at a time when demand is nearly 17,000 MW is a terrible indictment of the state of the power sector.

“What is this government up to?” it wondered.

It went on to say that “broken promises seem to be the government’s forte”.

“The energy crisis is a self-inflicted problem that has been allowed to reach dire proportions even though the country lacks neither energy resources nor the opportunities to exploit them meaningfully.

“Among the greatest tragedies the power sector has suffered is the lack of vision by the government and the unwillingness of the political leadership to shoulder responsibility.”

The editorial couldn’t help asking: “How will you go from loadshedding for 20 hours a day in many parts of the country to no loadshedding at all? Indeed, why did we go through so much misery if the problem could just be solved with one statement from a federal minister?”

“While these questions remained unanswered, facts on the ground belied the minister’s claim Tuesday as loadshedding continued just as it was before his announcement.

“So much for lofty claims!” it rued.

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