The current regime is under heavy fire from the media and the public, for the last couple of years, for its failure to take effective measures to overcome the power crisis. This issue is probably going to be the only issue likely to decide the fate of the ruling party in the coming general elections. If nothing else, the present government ought to have given this matter its top priority in its own interest. At all public platforms, the relevant ministers could be seen trying hard to give an impression that they are leaving no stone unturned to overcome this crisis. But the reality is totally different.

The hapless citizens of Pakistan must have been deeply pained by the revelations of the federal secretary of the ministry of water and power before the Public Accounts Committee. He confessed that the power distribution companies had been serving inflated and fake bills to cover line losses. The secretary also confessed that no serious consideration was being given to power generation, and told the committee that the government had yet to decide whether to go for hydel power, thermal, gas or coal. He held responsible the subsidies given to the power sector – due to which the energy sector suffers a loss of Rs104 billion, while Wapda has a deficit of Rs280 billion – for all the problems.

I feel that we are a very generous people, with an unmatched capacity for patience and boundless courage to withstand all kinds of trials and tribulations. We remain calm against heavy odds and accept fate as divinely ordained. In any other country of the world such a confession, coming as it does from the chief spokesman of the government, would have forced the prime minister to resign and sent the government packing. But God bless our people who brave the cruel power outages of 12 to 20 hours in this sizzling heat and, despite knowing who is responsible for all this, keep maintaining their traditional equanimity. May I still raise my feeble voice to ask if anybody from the ruling elite will have the courage to answer the possibly fatal indictment in the disclosures of the government spokesman?

Zafar Aziz Choudhry,

Lahore, August 14.