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The rulers, be elected or dictator who don't pay heed to public unrest ultimately face an exit. In the past it used to take years or decades to bring regime change. However, now external powers having vested interest soon lead 'regime change' campaign, provide funds and even arms to expedite the change. The happenings in the Middle East and North Africa are worth following.
In Pakistan experts have been warring for a very long time that if no corrective steps are taken 'energy related riots will erupt. In the first phase riots are likely to disrupt economic and social fabric of the country. Experts have been warning one such riots erupt it would not be easy to contain because opposition could exploit the opportunity to attain quick but guaranteed mileage. It was also apprehended that if riots turn violent, these could plunge the country deep crisis.
In the recent past the government had managed to bring calm by making paltry payments to reduce the intensity of circular debt but no remedial steps were taken to resolve the root causes, rampant pilferage and mounting receivables. The situation has turned real precarious as the officially stated electricity shortfall touches 8,500MW. This is mainly because shortage of fuel an outcome of deteriorating cash flow of the companies involved in energy supply chain.
According to media reports electricity shortfall in the country reached record high of 8,500MW on Sunday. According to the National Transmission & Dispatch Company (NTDC), Orient, Hubco, Saif, Lal pir, Sapphire and other power plants could not generate electricity due to the non-availability of oil and gas. Power outages prolonged up to 20 hours in different parts of the country. Lahore was worst hit as it experienced three to four hours of load shedding after every hour.
Electricity generation by independent power plants (IPPs) dropped to 4,643MW from 5,800MW because of circular debt and low fuel supply and Hydel generation declined to 4,252MW from 6,500MW because of low water inflows in rivers at Tarbela and Mangla dams. Public sector thermal power plants contributed 1300 MW only. The most disgusting part is the country having installed capacity to generate 24,000MW is producing around 10,000MW only because of not following good governance.
While the intensity of riots is increasing the official statements of President and Prime minister of Pakistan 'spread salt on the wounds of people. Lately, President Asif Ali Zardari has directed Petroleum Ministery to take measures to solve the problem at the earliest by ensuring fuel supply to power generation companies that have stopped operations due to the non-availability of oil and gas. One feels completely lost because it is not an issue Ministry of Petroleum will have to resolve but ministry of finance. Power generation companies are not asking for any favor but release of the payments due to them.
Similarly, Prime Minister summoned a meeting of ministers and officials concerned in Islamabad to discuss energy crisis, as if they still don't know the reasons for this crisis. It may not be wrong to say that the government just does not want to resolve the issue as it knows the root causes and also the remedial steps taken. It is necessary to highlight that the role of Punjab Government has become highly deplorable. It is trying to put the entire blame on the federal government, as if the provincial authorities just don't have any role to play.