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- Saturday, June 15, 2013 - From Print Edition


ISLAMABAD: Just four wide-ranging briefings to Nawaz Sharif on the deep energy crisis immediately after the May 11 general elections earned caretaker Federal Minister for Water & Power Dr Musadik Malik the prestigious slot of special assistant to the democratically elected PM. While Nawaz Sharif selected his cabinet team for purely political considerations, he incorporated this expert in it simply for his professional expertise after being impressed with his knack in the energy sector. Protracted power outages are obviously number one problem he faces that he is trying to take it head-on with vigour.


Dr Malik is the only caretaker federal minister, who has been opted for the post of special assistant to the prime minister. “I had no connection or link whatsoever with Nawaz Sharif or any of his party leader before I met him for four times to give briefings on the energy crisis after the parliamentary polls,” Dr Malik told The News. Nearly a decade and a half ago, he said, he had a meeting with Shahbaz Sharif in London when the latter was in exile. But this session, since forgotten, did not play any role in his selection by the PM for the job.


Similarly, Dr Malik said, he did not know anyone in the caretaker setup when he one day received a call in Karachi to come to Islamabad and take oath as minister for water & power. He said so far he has given nearly a dozen briefings to the prime minister on the energy sector. He said he was engaged in hectic work to resolve the crisis using the available resources and within the shortest possible time.


Not only was Khawaja M Asif, a former banker, chosen for the key ministry of water and power for political reasons at this trying time when anyone occupying the portfolio would certainly attract brickbats due to the lingering power cutoffs in the grueling heat, but all others, barring exceptions, were inducted in the cabinet for similar considerations. It is obvious that they are not expert in the fields they have been assigned to turn around and will learn on the job as politicians do. However, Dr Malik’s case is different as he has got the job for his proficiency in the specific field. The main purpose of engaging him is to make contribution to alleviating power crisis in a short span of time.


He said he specializes in public sector reforms and has prepared strategies for higher education, energy etc., and has been lecturing at NIPA and Staff College. He has extensive international experience in public policy with a focus on economic transformation, industrial development, labour reform, employment generation, education, and healthcare.


Malik has served as an adviser to govt bodies in North America, ME and South Asia. He has also advised private sector organizations ranging from the Fortune 500 companies in the US to the largest publically traded corporations in GCC through stages of transformation.


He has led significant projects including the national innovation and research strategy; energy, oil & gas innovation strategy; six sector-specific innovation strategies for Sultanate of Oman including industries, health, education and agriculture; the national labour reform strategy, industrial manufacturing development strategy, higher education strategy, knowledge-based industrial clusters strategy; national judicial reform strategy for Saudi Arabia; science and technology based economic transformation strategy for the government of Puerto Rico; alternative dispute resolution strategy for Bahrain, corporate strategy for Bahrain Bourse (stock exchange); industrial strategy for Bahrain etc. The gigantic challenge not only for the duo – Khawaja Asif and Dr Malik – but the entire Nawaz Sharif government is to rid the people of agonizing power shortage.