Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is reported to have taken a serious view, during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, of the Ministry of Water & Power’s failure to overcome the menace of unannounced power outages making life miserable. He has convened a special session of the cabinet next week to review the overall situation.  He conveyed his displeasure at the ministry’s gimmicks of playing with figures saying, “Don’t drag me into the figures game, which are known to me by heart.” The PM observed that there was no justification for unannounced loadshedding.

His outburst, if true, raises the question as to exactly why we have been required to put up with it thus far? When he was himself the Minister for Water & Power, he gave four deadlines, which he clarified were based on faulty briefings received from the concerned high officials. The prolonged hours of power outages have forced people to come out on the streets many times and cause damage to Wapda offices and other government buildings including setting some grid stations on fire - and now, according to the PM, these prolonged power outages could have been wholly avoided? The mind boggles. Corruption in signing deals with IPPs and RPPs further exacerbated the situation, while the unsolvable circular debt is another popular justification for loadshedding. One hopes that when the Prime Minister chairs the cabinet’s special session next week, he will be able to derive and provide some clarity about an issue which has caused such misery to household consumers and been a death knell for industry, if there is, in the PM’s own words, “no justification” for it.