ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pakistan's Power Politics

There is hardly any government meeting in Islamabad these days in which the debilitating energy crisis in which the country is engulfed is not discussed. Almost invariably, however, the problem is treated as one of governance - the government failing to meet its obligations to investors who are left with no choice but to stop producing electricity. This article shows how the actual problem lies in the privatisation policy under which the energy sector now operates.

In recent months, the Pakistan government has come under tremendous pressure to fix the dire energy situation. Entire cities plummet into darkness for up to 12 hours a day, and industry has come to a grinding halt. The government responds with making false promises and holding “energy summits” that invariably come to nothing. The blame is always put on the people who are deemed to have gotten used to “subsidies” and the non-bill-payers. What no one seems to question is the policy shift that has led to a situation where people are deprived of energy despite excess ­capacity in the system, and yet this is where the problem lies. This article ­attempts to explain how this situation has arisen.


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