After much thought, Nawaz Sharif and Khawaja Asif have gone back on their word of offering contracts for power generation to private companies through a fair and transparent bidding process and instead will bypass the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules to hand out contracts to any private investors, provided they are able to furnish at least 85% of the cost and deposit a $1000 guarantee per MW. Whether this is being considered to speed up the process of power generation or something more sinister remains to be seen. But getting suspicious in such a situation is only natural, given how the track record of all past governments—including this one in its previous tenure—has given us no cause to be optimistic.

One of the stated reasons for bypassing the auction is that international investors would not like to be involved in the finer details of the bidding process, which goes to show the biggest problem of Pakistan; circumventing rules and regulations for the most trivial of reasons. Apparently, Nawaz Sharif fears the non-transparency in the bidding process, and hence, has come up with the brilliant solution of making the entire process even more cryptic. How did he somehow lead himself to the conclusion that by handing out contracts to preferred candidates the entire process would become fairer? Let’s not kid ourselves. The bidding process is as transparent as it gets for now, and making the entire procedure more mysterious is not really going to increase the public’s faith in the PML-N government. $25 billion dollars is no small sum. Nor is the power sector like any other public commodity. Half the issues of the country are related to the energy crisis, and handing out contracts to just anybody is not likely to cut down the power shortfall.

The entire situation becomes even more oxymoronic when one realizes that it was not too long ago when Khawaja Asif was clamoring for the rental power projects of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to brought to the courts. So what now? Forgive and forget? Or just pretend like it never happened? The government claims that by getting bidding out of the way, Pakistan could overcome its energy problems by 2017, but the rate at which the state is casting aside its promises only tells us that this statement too, will be forgotten about after three years. Stop the lying and the mucking about and get some real work done for once. Its almost embarrassing that the rest of the world is conducting research through Hadron Colliders and what not, while we can’t even turn on the lights to read at night.