Pakistanis continue to remain glued to their television screens following the scandals and drama of the past and current governments, and as always, Pakistani politics is more exciting than any soap opera one can find while flicking through the channels.

In the midst of all this excitement, is the often forgotten Rental Power Saga, in which in 2012, the Supreme Court scrapped all the rental power plants projects deals made by the government since 2006. The Supreme Court declared the projects void ab initio and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate the alleged corruption connected to the RPP’s, including the one involving Turkish firm Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik.

Karkey invested heavily in Pakistan after winning a competitive international tender where the company’s Powerships would provide relief from the country’s continuous power shortages. The agreement was for Karkey to supply 232 Megawatts of power to Pakistan through the deployment of four vessels including two Powerships. The firm became controversial when media reports said that the government was paying millions of dollars to Karkey despite the fact that the company was only producing 30 megawatts of power.

Karkey’s narrative ran a little differently, stating that the lack of generation was due to Pakistan’s inability to provide for the fuel, which actually might make sense considering that Pakistan is under similar default in many other power plants.

Karkey stated that Pakistan had repeatedly defaulted on its contractual payment obligation for the use of Karkey’s rental power equipment and fuel cost and/or supply, forcing the company to self-finance millions of dollars in order to continue to provide power to the people of Karachi.

Whatever the story may be, since April 2012 Karkey’s four vessels have been detained in Pakistani waters until a recent ruling by the World Bank’s International Centre for Investment Disputes (ICSID) released one of the vessels, “Kaya Bey”, back into Karkey custody on August 1st, 2014. The case is still in arbitration with Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik claiming $2.1 billion in damages against the government of Pakistan and three of its ships still in detainment.

Apparently the prospects for Pakistan look grim and luckily there is talk of an out of court settlement in the streets of the capital to minimize the possible damage Pakistan might have to face paying. 

Yet despite all of this, Turkey remains one of Pakistan’s few friends in the international scene which means any gesture of goodwill would go a long way to solidify Pakistan’s ties to one of the world’s largest emerging economies.

Further intensifying the tragedy of the scenario is that Karkey has successful power generation projects in countries like Iraq and Lebanon, countries rivaling Pakistan’s political complexity and yet, Pakistan with its energy crisis has been unable to successfully deploy a tool that would have benefitted the country’s dire energy crisis. 

It is with this thought in mind, and after the recent announcement that Pakistan’s fellow Muslim nation, the Palestinian Authority has requested immediate electricity to be supplied from one of Karkey’s Powerships, that there is a chance for a silver lining in this otherwise complex situation.

The news states that Karkey has started negotiations with the Palestinians Minister of Energy and intends to deploy one of its Powerships to Palestine within 120 days.As a country riddled with its own challenges; Pakistan rarely finds itself in a position to help its allies. Therefore, by releasing Karkey’s remaining detained vessels for their deployment to Palestine and Gaza with the aim of relieving the current suffering and strife, Pakistan could essentially turn this awkward situation into one of national pride.(Contributed by ECE ACIR)