While public protests against power outages have become a daily occurrence in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the provincial government continues to make empty promises.
The government has not yet provided a comprehensive plan to solve the problem of mass power outages. No meeting has yet been held between the provincial government and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) officials to discuss the matter.
Analysing K-P Chief Minister (CM) Amir Haider Khan Hoti’s statements in response to increasing agitation against power shortages carries no hope for K-P residents either. In a recent statement, he was quick to dismiss the blame for the issue, saying “no attention has been paid to this (energy) sector in the past.”
The CM maintained that the government is fully aware of the problems and has implemented a plan for generating electricity with the province’s own resources. He said that the plan would mature in the next five to seven years and it would be instrumental in eradicating load-shedding. Hoti further said “hydel projects in K-P and wind power generation schemes in Sindh will help reduce the energy crisis.”
Meanwhile, Awami National Party (ANP) stalwart Senator Afrasiab Khattak claimed K-P produced around 4,000MW against a 1,700MW demand but was unfairly subjected to excessive power outages; another statement with no suggestion for mitigating people’s sufferings.
K-P Governor Barrister Masood Kausar usually asks Pesco authorities to ensure that judicious treatment is administered to consumers while implementing the electricity load management arrangements across the province.
“Let people not suffer any more and let them avail facilities which they pay for from their hard earned resources,” he will usually say, but to whom?
K-P Minister for Information and Public Relations Mian Iftikhar Hussain will, meanwhile, appeal to the general public, instead, to extend their cooperation in order to manage the crisis by avoiding illegal power use. At the same time, Pesco will request the public to conserve maximum energy. “We can overcome the current energy crisis only with the customers’ cooperation,” their spokesperson would add.
Statements such as these provide no way out from the current crisis, increasing people’s frustrations. They, as such, continue their protests, resorting to increasingly violent methods.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.