The fact is that the performance of the present government in the energy sector is no better than the previous regimes. Long term planning and its proper implementation are what the government has failed to do. Though the setting up of the Bhikki power plant in Sheikhupura is a good development, it is not enough. The energy crisis requires steps on a war footing, but this has been conspicuous by its absence. Even the Nandipur power project, for which the PML-N roundly castigated the previous government, has failed to take off except in cost multiplication. Meanwhile some other projects like the much touted 6,600 MW Gadani power projects have not been initiated due to poor planning on part of the government. The vicious cycle of circular debt is another issue that continues to haunt power managers, as it has not been resolved thanks to mismanagement in recovering the full cost of electricity sold to various stakeholders including public departments.
When the PML-N campaigned for the general elections 2013, it made claims of ridding the nation of electricity shortages within days, then weeks, then months. Later, this was extended to six months, two years and now till the end of its tenure. The energy crisis is the result of the wrong policies of the Musharraf regime that did not add a single megawatt of electricity in its nine-year existence – apparently all in the hope that this might strengthen the case for the Kalabagh Dam. As it turned out, the dam could not be built for lack of consensus in the federation and this ill-advised waste of time resulted in a massive energy crisis.
The PML-N government has inherited the crisis but from the way it has been handling the situation, there is little hope that the problem might be resolved soon. In fact the PML-N government has failed to understand the severity of the problem.
At the very least, it should realistically describe the extent of the crisis and then present a strategy on how to deal with the problem. It is in the interest of the government that it refrains from fantastic false claims that will only dent its credibility. *