Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar told the National Assembly on Friday that the agreement to import 5000 MW of electricity from Iran was under process, during Question Hour. In answer to another question, he said that there had been no loadshedding in the country from October 23 to December 17, admitting by implication that it had started again after that. It appears that the Iranian electricity is so far into the future that it might as well not be a solution, because it has not yet been decided whether the project will be located in Zahidan or Gwadar, both ports, the former being in Iran, the latter in Pakistan. With such a basic decision not yet made, the project itself is likely to find itself subject to many other delaying factors.

The project will almost surely invite American objections, but it should be realized that the USA has long pledged to help Pakistan with its crippling power shortage, but has taken no practical steps. Pakistan should realise that it needs the electricity more than Iran needs to sell it, and should go ahead with expediting the work to make electricity available at the earliest. It should not be forgotten that, apart from plunging the country into darkness, loadshedding has also meant that Pakistani industry has been unable to function, with the result that export orders have not been met and it has become difficult for the country to pay for its imports of food and fuel; the latter of which have been growing as international prices of fuel have risen.

American objections rest the desire to prevent Iran from making any agreements to its benefit; so as to bend Iran's nuclear programme to its will by crippling its economic sustainability. The same reasons have delayed the Iranian gas pipeline, a project which was to have extended to India, but did not, because India fell prey to American blandishments, including a civilian nuclear deal denied to Pakistan. The government, at one time appearing to capitulate to the American desire to abandon the project, in the face of public protests following gas shortages has renewed work on it. The hope is that Iranian supply will cure the gas shortages taking place, which will only grow worse if action is not taken. Actually, the gas shortage worsens the power shortage, because thermal plants run on gas would have to burn furnace oil unless supplied gas, which would not be available until Iranian gas is, is online.