Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Special Report- Energy Crisis of Pakistan- By Alam Rind

Energy    Crisis     of     Pakistan 

Alam Rind
Pakistan is facing the worst energy crisis of its history, the crisis that has the potential to totally cripple its economy. Magnitude of the problem can be gauged from the fact that Pakistan
is fa
cing shortage of electricity and gas while about 40% of its households have not yet received electricity and only 18% have access to gas supply. Meeting existing demand and that of the developmental sector will require manifold increase in the production or availability of the two
s. If we look at the global statistics there is a strong correlation between energy availability and level of nation's development. The nations topping the list of human
evelopment are also the largest per capita consumers of energy. The world average per capita
nergy use is about 650 million BTUs while American consume 352 million BTUs, Malaysia 104
million BT
Us, China 56.2 million BTUs, India 15.9 million BTUs and Pakistan is trailing at 14.2
on BTUs. These figures clearly exhibit that the availability of energy acts as locomotive for
evelopment that is critically important to pull Pakistan out of quagmire created by terrorism and
amentalism. It is an established fact that these tendencies bread in an environment infested
y poverty and lack of education.
One of the most appropriate steps that can be initiated to help Pakistan wriggle out of the fold of extremism is to initiate developmental and economic activities in the country. Multifarious steps would be required to kick start economic activities. These should include foreign direct investment, granting preferential trade status, helping the country to meet her energy needs and supporting law-enforcing agencies to be able to combat the menace of terrorism and extremism. Conventionally, Pakistanis' have been looking towards global powers
to c
ome and resolve their problems. It is that the present politically elected government took the
urage to conclude gas pipeline deals with Iran and a deal to install nuclear reactors at Chashma
ith China inspite of odds to meet present and future energy needs of the country. The irony is
hat the objection is coming from the quarter that recognizes Pakistan as a non-NATO ally, a
ntline state in GWOT and an indispensable ally if America is to succeed in Afghanistan. In the backdrop of additional sanctions that are being clamped on Iran due to her nuclear program, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke initially remarked that, "US has nothing to do with Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline" but had to retract his words suggesting that Pakistan should wait for the upcoming legislation, Under total American influence Prime Minister Yousuf Razu Gilani has declared that Pakistan wil! abide bv the US sanctions on Iran, which may jeopardize Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. The project costing about $7.6 billion
as the ability to affect a turnaround in Pakistan's economy.
Recently Pakistan and China have concluded a deal for installation of two nuclear reactors
at Chashma i
.e. C3 and C4. The deal for installation of nuclear reactors for power generation at
Chashma was inke
d back in 1991. The first reactor started operation in 2000. Construction work
on the second reactor sta
rted in 2005 and is likely to complete by 2011. The proposed Chashma 3 & 4 will have a power generation capacity of 650 MW, which will substantially contribute
towards bridging power generation an
d consumption gap. Chinese viewpoint is absolutely clear
stated by their Foreign Ministry spokesperson, "The cooperation is subject to safeguards and
the supervision of the Internatio
nal Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It is in compliance with
ective international obligations of the two countries". The present deal is an extension of the
general agreement that was co
ncluded far before 2004 when China joined Nuclear Suppliers
Group (NSG), therefore,
the same doesn't fall under its purview. Present Pakistan-China nuclear
l is not in conflict with international law even then USA may block the deal by possibly
raising the issue at nex
t NSG conference.
 On the other
US has concluded civil nuclear deal with India, a non-signatory of NPT and facilitated
exemptions from IAEA and NSG. T
hese double standards can really hurt Pak-US relations and
even turn the opinion of mo
derate segment of society against them.
A common Pakistani aspires for peace and economic development as anyone else.
Availability of cheap and abundant energy holds key to it. It will be highly demoralizing to find
that America is
blocking installation of nuclear reactors in Pakistan and is throwing spanners in
-Iran gas pipeline project. It will render sacrifices made by the people and armed forces
of Paki
stan meaningless and an average Pakistani will be constrained to rethink their relations
with USA. To top a
ll this Pakistan is not being provided with the attack and transport helicopters
ed for operations in North Waziristan, notwithstanding this Afghan Armed Forces are being
ght Russian helicopters facilitating India to have greater say in Afghanistan. There are reports that India will have role in Afghan military affairs that will be highly detrimental for Pakistan. Events are in mismatch with words, Is Pakistan-US strategic dialogue a lip service?