Damage control: As Shahbaz turns up heat, Zardari calls emergency meet

Published: July 30, 2012
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The meeting would most likely pump more money into the system.
 PHOTO: FILE

The meeting would most likely pump more money into the system. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: 

Both provincial and federal governments reacted, in a familiar pattern, to the anger on the streets over continued power blackouts.

While Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif lashed out as President Asif Ali Zardari saying the load-shedding was a result of the president’s ‘vindictive thinking’, the president once again convened an emergency meeting over the power crisis.

Shahbaz pointed out that 700 megawatts of electricity produced in Punjab was being sent outside the province.

He added that the power crisis was casting a long shadow over industry, agriculture, health, education and other sectors while the cancellation of export orders was also causing irreparable loss to the economy. He said that the federal government had not implemented the decision to enforce uniform load shedding throughout the country.

Meanwhile, the president’s meeting, to be held today (Monday) will be attended by Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf, Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain and the federal secretaries of the relevant ministers.

Insiders said that the meeting would most likely pump more money into the system to enhance thermal power generation, but this would merely remain a temporary solution.

There was, however, some relief for the government on Sunday when the Chashma 1 and 11 nuclear power plants were repaired, adding 650 MW to the system. These plants tripped last week, aggravating the crisis.

Earlier in the day, the spokesperson for the Energy Management Cell in Lahore addressed a press conference and said that presently 12 hours of load-shedding were being imposed on urban areas and  16 hours in rural areas.

Thunderstorms and heavy rains, however, affected the transmission of 1,750 megawatts of electricity supplied by the Muzaffargarh power plant to the national grid.

He said that 1,000 megawatts would be brought back to the system by Sunday evening.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • asif
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:00PM

    Punjab’s gas and electricity has been cut off for the last four years.the federal government has treated punjab as if it was enemy territory during a war.The industries and business activities have been completely destroyed over the last four years due to the negative atttitude of the federal govt. towards punjab.

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  • Lahori
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:07PM

    Cruel leaders. I hope they never return to power again!

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  • Hanif Majeed
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:12PM

    Punjab has been treated as you wouldn’t treat your worst enemy by the ppp.The economy of punjab has been deliberately sabotaged,the ppl of punjab should have sense now and vote sensibly this time,they’ve seen what a ppp govt in islamabad means for them.

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  • A2Z
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:17PM

    @Lahori…Not leaders but rulers

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  • Awans
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:20PM

    @Lahori: And the good news is that People are determined more than ever to bring all of these corrupt parties back in Power. People will whine but will always vote PPP in rural Punjab regions. Our people deserve this treatment and Allah dont change those who dont want to change themselves. So enjoy the next coming five years with PPP and with their allies as well.

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  • Asad Murtaza
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:24PM

    I wont get into provincial divisions. but the government failed to improve power situation in the last 4.5 years. With such a fail government, I have no hopes from them but only if next election a capable party wins, only then they’ll build out more dams and power plants to improve the situation.

    All i’ve seen in last 5 years is Mr. zardari beating the drum of how many sacrifices his party gave, and haven’t added single megawatt power to national grid. One wonders how do they justify their 5 years of salaries if they were unable to solve the #1 and biggest national crisis right now (electricity) in such long time.

    Oh well.

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  • Imran Haider
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:25PM

    Could anyone educate us on whether Pakistan has any electric power sharing formula among its provinces? Did Zaradari violate that formula, and how? If such an energy sharing protocol does not exist, Sharif’s complaining against Zardri is not justified. His right attitude should have been complaining about not having such a protocol.

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  • amjad khattak
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:29PM

    this govt has destroyed the whole country not just punjab. balochistan is destroyed by separatists, kpk is destroyed by terrorism and sindh is destroyed by ethnic clash. one that was left was punjab, govt has no other option so it used powershortage to destroy it.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:31PM

    Every moment the Paki Electricity situation is on the verge of getting remarkable better
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    But it just never does!

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  • CAT
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:50PM

    @Lahori:
    Power? What power!

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  • Nadeem
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:51PM

    I simply can’t understand the mind set of the masses as they are protesting fiercely in the streets for the electricity outages and electing the same PPP candidates in the bye elections.Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jul 30, 2012 - 5:55PM

    Sindh collects 70% of the taxes only to be spent on the province of Punjab. For long, Punjab thought it was its right to consume the resources of the entire country. But not anymore. It should now start contributing, instead of keep on demanding.Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jul 30, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Punjab’s appetite for more resources is never ending. Please, control your population, and balance your resources. In 2008, during the wheat shortage, Shabaz Sharif
    imposed embargo on the transport of wheat outside the province. When you can be so callous for the food items, don’t expect favors. You must now produce your own electricity according to 18th amendment, collect your taxes instead of relying on other provinces to subsidize your luxurious lifestyles.Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jul 30, 2012 - 6:03PM

    @Imran Haider:
    The formula is in place, which short-sighted Shahbaz Sharif agreed on in Council of Common Interests. Now he doesn’t have any right to complain against what he himself agreed on.Recommend

  • Mohd Butt
    Jul 30, 2012 - 6:28PM

    What do you want from Punjab by punishing punjabis, do you want they refuse to let rice and wheat go to others provinces, why you playing so dirty politics. You are stealing the food from common peoples.

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  • AdamZ
    Jul 30, 2012 - 6:58PM

    FACT – Punjab contributes to 63% of Pakistani’s GDP (it’s actual economic output). I am no fan of PML-N but no doubt about it but PPP is deliberately targeting Punjab in order to punish the Sharifs.

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  • Awans
    Jul 30, 2012 - 7:02PM

    @Jibran:I think i should write an Article on this lies of Sindh that they are collecting 70 percent revenue. This is one of the biggest lies in Pakistan. Go and check out how federal revenue system and how revenue is generated in Karachi. Pakistan’s 65 percent GDP is dependent on Punjab and Karachi only deducts the taxes for Pakistan for the products destined for the rest of the county. Do you know that Karachi traders are living on Punjab’s money as 70 percent of the trade they do daily is actually destined to or from Punjab and the day Punjab starts using alternative Port than Karachi then this revenue will have a record downfall and your actual revenue will be less than 15 percent then. Also the companies registered in KSE mostly get all profits from Punjab and If Sindh have a Problem then Punjab could do the boycott of All firms stockpiling their profits in Karachi and then we will see how we will be blackmailed by Smooth Lies then.

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  • Sindhi_Pakistani
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:12PM

    Dear Friends, Pls Fact sheet is as under.Pls read it and open your eyes. People of Punjab are our brothers but Sindh is also not on sale. Dont steal our resources in the name of Patriotism.
    According to Census of electricity undertaking conducted by FBS: “Installed capacity of Punjab was of only 2.1 MW whereas Sindh had 213 MW, NWFP and Balochistan installed capacity share was 183 MW and 5 MW respectively. Average electricity generation in Sindh province was highest among other three provinces. In Punjab it was 269 min KWh which was 76 per cent less than Sindh where average generation was 1,154 min KWh against Punjab had 269 min KWh. Even generation in NWFP comparatively with Punjab was better by 72 per cent where its average was 962 min KWh. Balochistan has on average generated only 6 min KWh during last 10 years. Average energy consumption level in Punjab was 136 per cent higher than in Sindh where it was 439 rain KWh against 1,036 min KWh of Punjab. In NWFP average consumption was 213 min KWh and Balochistan had only 77 min KWh.
    Sindh has own natural gas, petrol resources and generates enough electricity for their people. Pls see what your province produce and then make hue and cry. Be Pakistani and respect other’s rights and resources.

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  • uH
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:36PM

    @Awans:
    How much a province contributes to GDP is irrelevant as long as its not taxed. Capital formation (which in this case is directly linked to improvement in power infrastructure ang generation) can only take place if those assets contributing to 60 odd percent of GDP produce revenue for the state and are not merely consumed. Also, punjabis are culturally more inclined to consume rather than save, a pivotal reason for businesses in Punjab to have to turn to KSE in order to raise large amounts of capital. And that is also the reason why businesses in KHI have identified and successfully targeted the huge market Punjab has to offer. In short sir, your argument stirring provincial hatred is uncalled for and the simplest solution i can offer you for resolution of your grievances is to pull your act together because its a systemic flaw on your part that you are failing to recognize, let alone act upon. It is after all a basis economic principles of there being no such thing as a free lunch. For too long the cost of that free lunch has been transferred to society at large!

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  • Snausher
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:41PM

    By reading all this comments we have proven that Mr Zardari has archived his one of the goal Dividing the country in groups based on provinces, language and tribes. Why cannot we think as Pakistani rather then going into decision of punjab, sindh etc. Thanks to Mr President. He is not a symbol of federation but a real feudal Recommend

  • Imran
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:12PM

    @Awans:
    GDP and taxes are two different things. Traders in Punjab earn in billions, but not taxes. No tax, no rights…. period!Recommend

  • Justin Truthful
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:49PM

    Produce more hydroelectric power from Gilgit, Chitral, Kabul, Neelum, Indus, and other rivers and distribute electricity through Pakistan in a fair manner.

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  • A. Khan
    Jul 30, 2012 - 10:15PM

    Serve the people right for voting for Zardari. Try and remember it next time there is an election.Recommend

  • Qasim Shah
    Jul 31, 2012 - 1:07AM

    All due to whole corrupt lot politicians in each province and if people elect them again then they have no right to complain. Our politicians, whole of them, are immorally corrupt and shameless.

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  • saad
    Jul 31, 2012 - 1:39AM

    By sharif’s logic, every province should be given the right to use the electricity it generates. khyber pakhtoonkhwa would gladly accept the proposal and it even might be kind enough to sell some to Punjab. jaag punjabi jaag.

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  • Blithe
    Jul 31, 2012 - 3:09AM

    @Justin Truthful:
    Good point. Why doesn’t Zardari understand???

    Electricity is and has to primarily be a central subject.
    You need central planning .

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  • Karachiwala
    Jul 31, 2012 - 3:42AM

    I think people must ASTAGHFAR on this holy month of Ramazan to get rid of these governing body and their coalition.

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  • Jul 31, 2012 - 5:33AM

    As usual the blame game .
    When the autonomy is given to every province the leaders are expected to visualize the energy demand and initiate proactively for its solution.
    Leaders in Provincial as well as the federal Assembly have failed on this count and are blaming others/ giving excuses.Even at this point the solution is not identified ( forget about the execution ). Sad affairs.
    Will the public question their political representative on this matter without waiting for the ensuing election.? Can they make a movement to have a provision in the constitution/election process to call back their representative from assembly in a grave circumstances affecting the mass.? Such provision will be check and the politicians can not remain insensitive to the grievances of public.

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  • Justin Truthful
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:55PM

    @p r sharma:
    As all kinds of resources are spread unevenly, electric power generation, among other resources, and their distribution should be a federal subject only.
    As regards your other point, not only should there be a movement to have an amendment in the Pakistan Constitution for a procedure for recall of parliamentarians but also of the President. And, in the first place, the President should be elected on the basis of one-man-one vote, that is, through direct franchise.
    And, to those Pakistanis that are gloating at this transient Indian power failure misery, let us instead concentrate on solving our problems, including that of the lack of availability of sufficient electric power for domestic as well as for industrial and commercial consumption.

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