Having been closely involved in the power crisis and the ongoing KESC Saga for the last ten years, I have tried to separate fact from fiction from the lies and misinformation that have been fed to us and try to find were the truth lies. The greatest betrayal and injustice to the people by the government was of course the privatisation of KESC, which was supposed to have solved the power crisis facing this crippled city of lights and free it from the dreaded load shedding. In order to get to the truth, one has to go back to the Privatisation Agreement, which is cloaked in secrecy and despite our best efforts, we have not been able to obtain a copy, even under the Freedom of Information Act. It seems that the agreement, together with the latest Aljomah and Abbraj agreements, have become the sacred Holy Grail of KESC, as they seem to contain sensitive information that could embarrass some very powerful VVIPs and destroy their 'Holier then Thou myth. I have tried to sort out the facts from fiction, but it has not been easy, as the crooked trail has been full of twists and turns. But a glaring fact that has emerged is that, past Board Directors of KESC, who enjoy all the 'Merks and Preks that go with job, including speedy and out of turn power connections, extra load, free electricity, etc., have failed to protect the interests of the consumers. According to our Deep Throat in the KESC, Akthar Zaidi, past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Executive Committee and Shan Ashry, a committee member, who had links with the Aljomah group, the former owners of KESC, played a pivotal role in setting the course of all KESC activities, including procurement and approving of 'lucrative contracts and tenders. What is further disturbing is that according to DT and other experts, the load shedding that we are being subjected to, can easily be avoided if KESC would utilize its existing power generation capacity and allow the two IPPs and other private power generating units, to function at their full capacity. According to DT, KESC has been ordered by the Puppet Masters not to generate or purchase extra electricity from the two IPPs, thus giving the government a justification to import the controversial Rental Power Plants (RPPs) at ludicrous and outrages terms. Faisal Saleh Hayat, our former Interior Minister and Senator Jamal Leghari, eldest son of Farooq Leghari, our former President, have vocally protested and objected to the 'terms and conditions being offered to the RPPs and have accused the Minister for Power, of corruption and all things evil. A raging battle is being fought through our electronic and print media, in which mud slinging, accusations of commissions and kickbacks, threats and counter threats, legal action, etc., have been exchanged without any inhibitions. The government has of course denied any wrongdoing and is insisting that that the entire process has been 'transparent and as per the 'Rules of Procurement. A touch of Deja Vu, here, like the 'transparent, yet controversial privatization of the Steel Mill, KESC, PTCL and other Pakistans silverware, which have been challenged in the courts? Let the battle rage on and see who the victor is. Returning to the Rental Power Plants, Mr. Hayat has chastised the government for ignoring the power generating capacity of the existing IPPs, which are cheaper and opting for the more expensive and uneconomical RPPs, which, according to him and others, would prove to be a disaster for the country in the years to come. There has been strong opposition from other quarters also, including the Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, who, it is reported, almost resigned after failing to persuade the cabinet against RPPs, which he considered to be expensive and inefficient. The article starts with the usual political 'we did and you didnt theme, but the points and the conclusions that have been drawn, are close to the truth and have been supported by experts in the field. It all boils down to the same old story, lack of investment in existing plants, outdated and overloaded grid systems, corruption, mismanagement and electricity theft and line losses, which have increased from 25% in 98, to 43% presently. Privatization was of course supposed to take care of all these problems, but then, so were the elections and the return of democracy. The government has approved the controversial plan to import RPPs, in order to overcome the electricity shortages. Though more expensive, RPPs seem to be the only 'quick fix solution, as they can be shipped quickly, installed easily and be operational within a few months. Countries like China and Turkey have also used these expensive RPPs as stop gap measures to meet their increase in demand for power, but in their case, their use can be justified, as these countries have witnessed a massive increase in industrial growth. In our case, the situation is opposite, as the power crisis is due the mismanagement of KESC, at the same time, there has been hardly any industrial growth and the two existing IPPs are being forced to operate below capacity, because they are not being paid by KESC and therefore can not purchase fuel. Furthermore, the power crisis did not emerge upon us suddenly, as the rot in KESC started in the late 90s and the power crisis has been brewing since then. Therefore, to blame the present government only is not justifiable. We have all been aware that this glittering City of Lights would ultimately plunge into darkness if effective and positive steps were not taken. For over a decade, both civil and military governments failed to take effective action to increase power-generating capacity. Even our so-called 'Pillars of Trade, Industry and Society refused to break their 'silence of the lambs, due to their usual 'I am all right Jack and dont rock the boat attitude. So now, the people of Karachi are once again are being made the sacrificial lambs, as the government has agreed to increase the power tariffs by 6% and more is yet to come. As they say, beggars cannot be choosers and we have always excelled in this field. At one time, our suave and slick talking banker PM had proudly announced that Pakistan had finally broken the begging bowl and that 'The Bowl was 'history. However, as we all know, history always repeats itself in Pakistan, but this time, the Begging Bowl is much bigger and has a hole in it. As the new song goes, 'There is a hole in my begging bowl, dear Obama, a hole. But more on the Bowl with the Hole and K-L Bill next week. Our only savior and hope to save us from the increasing power tariff now, is the CHP, who seems to be on a 'Mission impossible and our petition against KESC in the SHC. H. Maker (email: trust@super.net.pk).