ISLAMABAD " The provision of gas to the power sector as directed by President Asif Ali Zardari during a meeting here on Friday in a bid to increase electricity generation and reduce outages was bound to enhance the gas load shedding for the domestic sector. It is to be recalled here that during the last high profile meeting on the energy crisis with electricity load shedding on top of it, the President had directed the authorities to ensure provision of gas to the domestic sector, naturally, at the cost of other sectors including the power generation. Despite this previous Presidential direction, people across the country have faced acute shortage of gas, thus forcing them to protest. Now when the President has ordered provision of 50 million metric cubic feet gas to the power sector on an immediate basis, the domestic sector again is bound to suffer in terms of gas outages, an official of the Petroleum Ministry said, requesting not to be named. According to the official, the PPP government knew last year when it was promising to end power load shedding by end of 2008, that it was next to impossible to end this huge gap between the demand and supply in months. Even to arrest this power shortage from increasing further was also beyond control of the government, he added. Rather than giving out false promises, the government should have taken the people into confidence in the first place, he added. "By doing so, the government could have achieved a popular participation in its energy conservation campaign," he said. On the other hand, he added, the government itself took lightly the conservation that was the only practical measure to find a way out of the energy crisis for the short-term. According to the official, the government has not concluded any agreement with foreign companies so far, for coal based power generation, though it has been trumpeting a lot the interest shown by some Chinese companies in this field. It is also pertinent to be noted here that the former regime spoiled an ideal opportunity of Thar Coal Development inclusive of on-the-spot power generation by annoying the Chinese Shenhua Group. Initially, the Shenhua had agreed on 4.5 cents a unit tariff for the power to be produced by the Chinese through coal excavated from the Thar fields. The project was scheduled to be started practically in 2005. Later on when the Shenhua abandoned the project, the former government offered them to come back on 7.5 cents. However, having international prices jacked up at once during that period the Shenhua had demanded to come back for the tariff of 11.5 cents, which was simply not affordable for Pakistan.