Having failed to muster the main opposition parties for its all parties conference (APC), the ruling Awami National Party (ANP) is now set to arrange an ‘Energy Conference’ today (Thursday) at the Chief Minister House.
The opposition parties’ refusal to attend the APC ruled out any possibility of forging a united stand regarding the power crisis in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party Sherpao (PPPS), Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamaat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf held ANP equally responsible for the crisis along with the federal government”.
It forced the ANP to give the conference a new moniker as well since only the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) had agreed to attend – hardly a substantial presence by themselves.
Meanwhile, ANP had discussed the APC with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) provincial president Senator Sardar Ali Khan, who lent the idea some support as well.
On Wednesday K-P Minister for Information and Public Relations Mian Iftikhar Hussain made a last appeal to all the political parties, urging them to attend the now-termed Energy Conference and devise a strategy to resolve the power crisis. He was speaking at a presentation on cheap power generation sources, part of ANP’s rehearsal for today’s conference.
“It is not a particular party’s or person’s problem, it’s a national issue... therefore everyone should play their roles in this respect,” Mian Iftikhar said .
In his presentation, Dr Wasim Paracha, President of Oil Exploration Incorporation (OEI), Calgary, Canada, said K-P had abundant natural resources, including oil, gas and coal.
“Thousands of megawatts (MW) can be generated if these resources are properly utilised,” he said adding that flaring gas from Karak district’s Nashpa gas field could be used to generate 200MW within six months at a cost of Rs500 million. Similarly, more than 1,000MW could be produced from flaring gas from all gas fields in Kohat Division, he explained.
Paracha further informed that running water in canals and rivers, air, solar heat and solid waste could be used to produce cheap electricity as well.
Meanwhile, opposition parties confirmed being approached by the ANP once again for the conference and reiterated their refusal to participate.
PML-N provincial general secretary Rahmat Salam Khattak told The Express Tribune that ANP approached his party, but they stand by their refusal to attend the conference.
PPPS provincial president Sikandar Sherpao informed of similar last minute moves but maintained the party would abide by its unanimous decision with the PML-N and JUI-F at the assembly secretariat.
JUI-F Information Secretary Jalil Jan echoed Sherpao’s statement as well, saying his party too would not attend the conference despite the new ANP invitation.
JI spokesperson Israrullah Advocate also confirmed receiving the ANP’s re-invitation. “We are not going to attend any conference convened by ANP,”he said.
At the same time, talking to The Express Tribune, PPP senior provincial minister Rahimdad Khan said ANP should have taken the party on board from the start regarding the APC.
“With the general elections inching closer, they (ANP) should not have expected the opposition parties to participate in the APC,” he said. Rahimdad informed, however, that his party will be attending the Energy Conference.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.