THE outcome of the Economic Coordination Committee's meeting on gas load management on Thursday was a foregone conclusion. Equal distribution of the commodity to various sectors of the economy is indeed an uphill task and the members were hard put agreeing on a common point. The most difficult question remains whether to provide gas to the domestic sector or the industrial. Indications are that it would be the industry that would be the loser. The sui gas authorities already have hinted at the possibility of cutting off gas supply to the CNG pumps across the country for three months. This is being done to ensure smooth supply to the domestic consumers. This is but lesser of the two evils. The possibility of a huge crisis in the industry is now staring us in the face. It is pretty obvious that our fragile economy lacks the muscle to stand up to this shock. It is a pity that Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has been ignoring this issue. The fact is that in our zeal to do the US bidding we have landed ourselves in trouble. Our energy sector bears the scars of the US manoeuvring aimed at weakening the economic engine. It is because of its pressure that the Iran Pakistan gas pipeline remains in limbo. One wonders how the US proclamations of long lasting friendship with Pakistan would fit in. Under the circumstances, Islamabad should be preparing for the crisis on a war-footing. Given the estimates that a minimum of 20,000MW would be required in the next decade, there should be no room for procrastination. Big dams like the Kalabagh should be brought out of the cold storage. Since its feasibility has already been carried out, there is reason why its construction should be delayed. There are also vast coal reserves - 184 billion - lying untapped in the south of the country. Unless we realise that a strong power and energy base is central to economic growth, the nation would find it hard to climb up the success ladder.