Policy debate: With energy moot, PML-N strikes a serious note

Published: February 20, 2012
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Party solicits the opinions of experts on energy for its manifesto in a bid to be seen as competent managers.

Party solicits the opinions of experts on energy for its manifesto in a bid to be seen as competent managers.

LAHORE: 

Recognising that the energy crisis is likely to become a serious campaign issue during the upcoming election, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz will hold an energy conference in Islamabad on Monday (today), where 80 energy experts, legislators, academics, journalists and others are expected to participate in helping the party craft a national energy policy for its manifesto.

PML-N’s eponymous president Nawaz Sharif is expected to preside over the conference titled “National Conference on Energy for Growth and Sustainable Development”, to be held at the upscale Islamabad Serena Hotel.

Asif Kirmani, Sharif’s political secretary, said that the participants would talk about the options the country faces in terms of solving the chronic energy crisis, while the PML-N’s manifesto committee would share some of its draft policy recommendations with the experts.

PML-N spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan said that the party will take some of the feedback it receives into account before publishing a final draft of the energy policy section of its election manifesto. He added that the party would also solicit advice from government departments and agencies involved in managing the energy chain in the country.

The party seems particularly keen to be seen as a competent alternative to the present government. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is expected to participate in the conference to highlight some of the initiatives that the PML-N-led Punjab government is undertaking in the energy sector, including the chief minister’s recent attempts to secure assistance and cooperation from other countries, including Turkey.

Senator Mushahidullah said that it was a new trend in Pakistani politics for the opposition party to hold such conferences with experts on key policy issues such as the energy crisis. He added that, rather than politicking to gain power, the PML-N would offer policy advice to the federal government on how to overcome the energy crisis.

The PML-N’s campaign for the upcoming election – launched in October 2011 – was initially focused on what are perceived to be two of the biggest weaknesses of the Pakistan Peoples Party-led federal government: a failure at curbing corruption and an inability to solve the energy crisis. The party had decided to street the public’s ire over these issues at President Asif Ali Zardari and used the slogan “Go Zardari Go” in its rallies in Dera Ghazi Khan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Chishtian.

Yet after the two successful rallies by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on October 30 (Lahore) and December 25 (Karachi), the PML-N has since backtracked on its strident opposition to President Zardari and the PPP and is now cooperating with the government on several issues in order to turn back the rising tide of PTI’s popularity, which tends to cannibalise from the PML-N’s urban support base.

Having voted with the government in the National Assembly on the 20th amendment to the constitution and having struck a deal with PPP over the Senate elections next month, the PML-N cannot realistically oppose the government on political grounds alone, say political observers. The decision to hold the energy conference is an attempt to project the image of a party that can competently govern the country, they add.

The PML-N certainly has a more competent image than most other parties on the energy crisis. The incidence of electricity theft is lowest in Punjab: at roughly 14% compared to the national average of over 24%. And the Punjab government’s policies on energy have been ranked by the World Bank as being on par with global best practices. The PML-N hopes to translate that image of technocratic competence into votes that can win the next election.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • tg
    Feb 20, 2012 - 9:52AM

    yea right
    pml n loves copying pti
    pti announced first it was going to have an energy seminar on 26th of feb
    so what does pml n do copy pti…
    pml n should be more creative
    they should learn from their previous experiences pti had announced a rally on 30th of october at minar e pakistan so pml n announced a jalsa on 28th.

    we all know what the results were…..

    Recommend

  • Mastuj
    Feb 20, 2012 - 10:07AM

    PTI energy meet on 26th Feb in Islamabad was announce three months ago. Another case of “copy cat”?

    Here come to anti-PTI trolls…….

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  • Muddassir
    Feb 20, 2012 - 10:12AM

    Oh my GOD…they will copy PTI even on policy debates. Good. PTI is holding a seminar on Energy on Feb 26th, and here is PMLN trying to steal the show. Great. But isn’t it strange that after 2 times premiership and 5 times C.Ministership, this is the first time they are holding a public conference for policy formulation (just 5-7 months before the elections, as if Pakistan just discovered its energy crisis).

    and the one who is going to preside…I bet you ask one question about any policy issue and the response would be…”kia live ja raha hey”…

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  • Falcon
    Feb 20, 2012 - 10:19AM

    Good thing. However, there is a slight pro-PMLN element in your analysis. You fail to mention that this urgent move is to counter the planned energy seminar of PTI on Feb. 26th which has been known for quite a while now. Otherwise, there have been no such seminars in the past by PMLN.

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  • Feb 20, 2012 - 10:55AM

    Good Positive move by PML-N
    Focus should be on national issues and not maligning each other.

    Recommend

  • Hafeez
    Feb 20, 2012 - 11:24AM

    Energy crisis is one of the biggest crisis right now. I think every party, including the ruling one should hold seminars and debates to chalk out some good workable plan.

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  • Blithe
    Feb 20, 2012 - 11:26AM

    The incidence of electricity theft is lowest in Punjab: at roughly 14% compared to the national average of over 24%. And the Punjab government’s policies on energy have been ranked by the World Bank as being on par with global best practices.

    That is very encouraging to hear.

    Recommend

  • siddiquem
    Feb 20, 2012 - 11:44AM

    copy copy copy. Pml n cannot be choice for educated class

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  • Aamer Khawaja
    Feb 20, 2012 - 11:59AM

    @PTI Supporters,

    So what do you want other parties to do? Talk about how to aggravate the energy situation just so that they don’t ‘copy’ your idea? Why dont you file a copyright petition in the judiciary?

    Recommend

  • umair
    Feb 20, 2012 - 12:15PM

    @Falcon:
    Otherwise, there have been no such seminars in the past by PMLN.

    because there have been no such energy crisis in their past reigns

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  • Ali
    Feb 20, 2012 - 12:18PM

    This is the change but guess who brought this change?

    Recommend

  • uet
    Feb 20, 2012 - 1:02PM

    @siddique
    This Party for uneducated gave you first motorway, first private bank , first mobile phone, first fibre optic cable and list goes on. Off course they did it for their uneducated masses but no one else did it, give the credit where due.Recommend

  • Feb 20, 2012 - 1:18PM

    Ahsan Iqbal of PML(N) announced the energy conference on Jan 6, 2012 on his facebook page
    http://www.facebook.com/ahsaniqbal.pk

    Imran Khan announced it on Jan 24 in Capital Talk

    When Tribune covers the PTI energy conference they should surely mention the idea copying.

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  • Bilal
    Feb 20, 2012 - 1:43PM

    Let me remind PTI supporters that…first PMLN announced energy conference on 6th January, while PTI announced on 24th January… so in this case PTI is copy-cat not PMLN.. :)
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=200757200022840&set=a.111057382326156.15720.108800099218551&type=1&ref=nf

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  • Hassan
    Feb 20, 2012 - 1:50PM

    Copycat N league. but good thing is, now at least they are forced to do something 4 ppl. But they lack vision and hav reactive approach as comapred 2 PTI. But stil something good 4 PAK in this

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  • Aamir
    Feb 20, 2012 - 2:54PM

    PPP will be nowhere in next election. PML-N and PTI seems top two parties in next elections.Recommend

  • Bhatti
    Feb 20, 2012 - 3:24PM

    Yet after the two successful rallies by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on October 30 (Lahore) and December 25 (Karachi), the PML-N has since backtracked on its strident opposition to President Zardari and the PPP and is now cooperating with the government on several issues in order to turn back the rising tide of PTI’s popularity, which tends to cannibalise from the PML-N’s urban support base.
    Having voted with the government in the National Assembly on the 20th amendment to the constitution and having struck a deal with PPP over the Senate elections next month, the PML-N cannot realistically oppose the government on political grounds alone, say political observers.

    That says it all, Wake up folks!! PTI seems to be the only sincere option right now at least.

    Recommend

  • blithe
    Feb 20, 2012 - 3:35PM

    good point that should silence the PTI trolls.

    Recommend

  • Falcon
    Feb 20, 2012 - 4:12PM

    @umair:
    Understandable. However, energy crisis is not the only problem being faced by Pakistan. For decades, Pakistan has faced challenges in Balochistan, governance, corruption, and economic re-structuring. Wouldn’t it have been better for them to have done a seminar on economy last time so that we all could have been saved from the agony of ‘Yellow Cab Scheme’ that cost so much to national exchequer with limited benefits to show for it. Lastly, for energy issue as well, had they not scared away IPPs in their last tenure through bullying and kicked-off energy capacity build-out projects instead, the issue won’t be as bad today. Infrastructure aspects such as energy and water need at least 10 – 20 years of projections and planning. But over all, I agree that policy seminars are a good thing whichever side they come from.

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  • Adnan Butt
    Feb 20, 2012 - 9:07PM

    PTI fans must be aware of the fact that this conference was announced by PML(N) on January 6 whereas its date was changed after 24th of January when PTI announced to conduct an energy conference on 26th of Feb.
    Shame on the liars party PTI..Recommend

  • Adnan Butt
    Feb 20, 2012 - 9:14PM

    PTI fans.. Kindly spare some time to visit the following link to know which party announced it first..
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=348511581849228&set=a.145607715472950.18379.145569565476765&type=1&theater

    Recommend

  • PTI troll 76
    Feb 20, 2012 - 10:56PM

    Finally something constructive done by the Punjab government. But why did Nawaz and Shahbaz not bother attending the energy conference??

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  • Adeel
    Feb 21, 2012 - 12:35AM

    Any summary of conference?What policy or solution put by PML-N?

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  • Nazeer Chaudhry
    Feb 21, 2012 - 3:16AM

    Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable as opposed to fossil fuels for example which once gone are gone. In 2008, about 19% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.2% from hydroelectricity. The EPA has just named the 50 green power partners (individual purchasing sources or companies) using the most renewable electricity.
    The Green Power Partnership’s top purchasers use more than 12 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1 million average Green Power users pollute less and do not use up non-renewable sources.
    During the five years from the end of 2004 through 2009, worldwide renewable energy capacity grew at rates of 10—60 percent annually for many technologies. For wind power and many other renewable technologies, growth accelerated in 2009 relative to the previous four years. More wind power capacity was added during 2009 than any other renewable technology.
    To use renewable power sources require not only the will but the availability of such sources. For example if one burns fuel oil , one can choose to use biofuels instead of petroleum based fuel oil. One could also install solar power cells too but one needs an adequate supply of sun which is better done in sunny Arizona than in gloomier portions of New England.
    The top 10 on the EPA list are Intel Corporation, Kohl’s Department Stores, Whole Foods Market, City of Houston, Dell Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Cisco Systems, Inc., commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U
    American homes. The top 10 on the EPA list are Intel Corporation, Kohl’s Department Stores, Whole Foods Market, City of Houston, Dell Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Cisco Systems, Inc., commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U.S. Air Force, and the city of Dallas.
    Intel Corporation remains the partnership’s largest single purchaser of green power, using more than 1.4 billion kWh, equivalent to the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 125,000 average American homes. Washington, D.C. (No. 14), TD Bank, N.A. (No. 15), the state of Illinois (No. 23), Pearson, Inc. (No. 27), Chicago Public Schools (No. 35), and Harris N.A. (No. 42), are all making first-time appearances on the national list. BD (No. 19), a global medical technology company, and the Port of Portland (No. 49), both rose in the rankings by nearly doubling their green power purchases.
    Looking at the individual users, there is a wide range of how much of the site power needs are renewable. For example, Intel is number 1 in total renewable power use, but only 51% of total usage is renewable. A Kohl Departmental store in Wisconsin is 100% renewable. A Dell location is 129% renewable which means they can export some of their power to the local electric utility. Johnson and Johnson in New Brunswick, NJ uses 39% renewable.
    Consumer users can sometimes install solar power and go renewable but, more often, it is more the luck of the draw. Users in the western USA have more hydroelectric power to choose from those in the eastern USA.
    By. Andy Soos of Environmental News Network

    Recommend

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