Winter is coming and it seems that this time, even more so than before, the public will be denied the use of heaters to warm themselves, as the gas shortage reaches an entirely new level. The only solution is being consistently sidelined and ignored, as the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project seems more unreal than it ever did, with the deadline looming closer. With just over a year left, and no provision made for the pipeline in the year’s budget, finding a practical solution to the energy crisis is clearly not high in the government’s priority list.  Instead, proposals for banning new gas connections for two years are being considered, with gas loadshedding also planned for the coming months, starting on the 1st of November.

The Iranians are giving up hope of Pakistan holding up its end of the bargain, as the construction on the Pakistani side of the pipeline has not even begun. Instead Pakistan is hoping that fearing losses, Iran will also decide to lend Pakistan the 2 billion dollars required to complete the project in addition to completing the work on their own side. Iran it must be noted, has already finished its part of the construction, with the incomplete pipeline stretching for 900 kilometers, and only 250 kilometers left on the Pakistani side. Given that one of the stipulations of the contract states that if either side fails to fulfill their construction commitments by the end of 2014, a daily 3 million dollar penalty will be applicable starting from the 1st of January, we had best step on it. Instead, the government indulges in dilly-dallying and neglects the one project which might actually prove instrumental in solving the crisis.

The American opposition to the plan seems to be having an effect on the state, as they fear that any attempt to complete the work might be seen as an affront to the US and would result in cuts in financial aid. The government keeps reiterating its stance and claims that it plans to meet the deadline but just how it intends to do with no money allocated, and no work started remains a mystery. With a modest amount of gas left in the country to meet the increasing demand of industrial, transportation and private use, it seems that darker times are ahead with no respite from the cold and its astounding how little effort is being employed by the government to fix this.