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Energy infuses life into human and business activities. It makes things possible for functioning in a constant way.

It allows socio economic development and prosperity. Its failure halts all the activities of life. Pakistan is marred by an energy crisis in spite of its abundant natural resources. The country has failed to utilize its reserves for the enhancement of its industry and economy. The current energy crisis has stunted the economic growth of the country. It has disturbed the peace and order of the country as reflected in violent public protests against the long power shortages. However, Pakistan can deal with its energy crisis by investing in energy for long term planning and efficiently using its alternative resources like wind, solar, nuclear and coal. The last mentioned has the capacity to generate 10, 0000 MW for more than 200 years.

Currently, Pakistan is capable of producing 19505 mega watts (MW) while the demand is that of 2500 megawatts, outstanding with a deficit of 3000 MW to 6000 MW in the peak seasons. Precisely speaking, Pakistan generates 65 percent thermal power, 33 percent hydro electricity and 2 percent nuclear energy. Keeping the present energy picture in mind, the short fall could go up to 13000 MW by 2020.There is a dire need to bridge this gap for the prosperity of the country.

There are many factors behind the energy crisis in Pakistan but poor energy planning tops the list. Subsequent regimes have dealt with the energy sector on ad-hoc basis. The approach has been project oriented and not goal oriented. Energy sustainability and long term planning has been an alien concept for the government. Consequently, Pakistan is crippled by an energy crisis.

Pakistan spends billions of dollars on oil export to meet its energy requirements. Little has been done to exploit its own abundant natural resources. The non use of alternative energy resources to generate electricity is a major reason behind the energy crisis in the country. India on the other hand, took full advantage of its natural resources. India is the 4th largest exporter of wind energy in the world.

It is natural that when things go wrong on a larger scale, quick fixes are sought to solve the crisis. This is what exactly has happened in Pakistan. The short term measures like Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and Rental Power Producers (RPPs) is a case in point that has been attempted at solving the energy crisis in Pakistan. Such short term solutions will not address the energy crisis permanently. Moreover, the tariff structure of electricity produced from IPPs and RPPs is very high which adds to the miseries of a common man. This is a move taken in panic which is further worsening the situation. It is against the energy sustainability of the country.

The politicization of mega power generation projects is yet another factor behind the

worsening energy crisis in Pakistan. The paramount example is that of Kala Bagh Dam. Studies have found that the project has been put on the back burner due to certain ethnic and political reasons. The politicians need to realize that using the Kala Bagh for political point scoring will not serve anyones purpose except pushing the economy of the country to the wall.

Last but very important factor behind the current energy crisis in Pakistan is unchecked energy theft. Every year energy producing companies have to bear a massive loss due to electricity theft. The thieves use unmetered electricity lavishly. The stolen energy directly contributes to the disruption of power supply to the registered users. This practice must be abandoned.

The energy crisis has many economic, social and political consequences for Pakistan. In the economic field, the flight of capital is most obvious. The current power crisis has badly damaged the industrial sector of the country. The industrialists are compelled to shift their industrial units from Pakistan to other countries especially, Bangladesh. The flight of capital is directly hitting the economic growth of the country.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is considered a very important factor in the sustainability of the economy of a country. But due to energy crisis in Pakistan, it is rapidly shrinking. Foreign investors have ceased to invest in Pakistani market.

The current energy crisis has severely affected the industrial sector of the country. Thousands of industrial units are being shut down due to unavailability of electricity to run the units. It has disastrous impact on the economy of the country. Nationally, more and more people are falling into the poverty pool and internationally, the image of the country is being tarnished as the producers are unable to export their goods on time.

Agriculture sector contributes 23 percent to the GDP of the countrys economy. It has been badly hit by the current power crisis. The countrys agriculture sector mainly depends upon the conventional methods of irrigation like tube wells. The tube wells are not working due to the unavailability of energy which is halting the irrigation process. The use of urea and pesticides is essentially important for high crop yield. The pesticides and urea making factories are being closed down. Resultantly, country has to import these items to meet the indigenous need. But, high prices make them out of the farmers reach. No use of pesticides and urea means poor crop yield. In short, the agriculture sector is in doldrums due to the current energy crisis in the country.

The energy crisis has many social repercussions also. It has disturbed the peace and order of the country. The violent public protests are visible due to extended power shortages in

the country. The protesters damage the public property and create law and order situation in the country. This practice portrays a very negative image of the country in the international media. The education and health sector are also suffering from the current energy crisis in Pakistan.

The energy crisis has a potential to destabilize the political structure of the country as well. It has created political uncertainty in the country. The trust of the masses in their representatives is subsequently eroding. The public has realized that the sitting government has been unable to solve the issue. This disenchantment has made the masses think to vote out the ruling political party in the next public elections.

Despite the gloomy situation, Pakistan can deal with its energy crisis. What is needed is political commitment and honest will of those at the helm of the affairs. Our leaders should realize that energy crisis can never be solved through ad-hoc base solutions. They should chalk out an energy planning and invest in the energy sector for long term gains.

The exploitation and use of alternative energy resources like wind, tidal, nuclear and solar should be made priority number one. The exploitation of Thar coal mines should be done on war footings. Thar coal has the capacity to meet the energy requirements of Pakistan for next 200 years. According to the Thar coal project head Dr. Samar Mubarik Mand, Pakistan has no reason to stay poor after the cheap generation of electricity and oil from Thar coal. The need of the hour is to focus on men power and financial reasons for the exploitation of this great gift of God to Pakistan. Similarly, up gradation and maintenance of existing power plants, co energy production with sugar mills, production of energy from solid waste and energy conservation will go a long way in solving the energy crisis of Pakistan.

To conclude, the energy crisis lies at the heart of multiple challenges faced by Pakistan. It is the result of years bad planning and mismanagement of natural resources. It has disastrous social, economic and political repercussions for Pakistan. The time has come that our political leadership should leave the petty politics of non issues and concentrate on real issues. The policy makers at Islamabad need to realize that more than the suicide bombers, more than sectarian violence in the country; it is the energy crisis that threatens the country. It must be solved as soon as possible. Pakistan is blessed with an abundant wealth of natural resources which have every possibility to turn the energy around in the country. It is hoped that every effort will be made to exploit these natural gifts of God to Pakistan. A peaceful, prosperous, economically stable and of course, an energy sufficient Pakistan is not far away.