Both of our most recent prime ministers are on record as saying that inequality of loadshedding between the provinces is a matter of concern and must be redressed. Precisely nothing has happened as a result. Now the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has moved a resolution in a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) calling for an equitable sharing of the loadshedding pain. The CCI unanimously approved the resolution and has set up (yet another) committee to investigate and report on the matter. The prime minister in his opening remarks laid the blame for the parlous state of our power infrastructure squarely on the previous government, which he said had not added a single megawatt to the system. He went on to say somewhat disingenuously that the present government had added 3,300 MW to the system since it came to power, but what he omitted to mention was how much of that addition came from projects started in the life of this government and how much was down to projects begun under the last government and completed under this. He also failed to mention that under the last government, circular debt was minimal whereas under this dispensation it has become the ogre that eats the system from the inside out.
There is no doubt that there is inequality of loadshedding between the provinces and equally little doubt that Punjab suffers more than the rest of the country. This can be verified by the simple expedient of making a few phone calls to the relevant people and agencies across the land and asking how many hours they were without power. It is difficult not to perceive political spin in the way power is distributed, with the burden falling on Punjab because it is governed by the opposition party to the government. This of course would be denied, but the fact remains that in meeting after meeting the inequalities were acknowledged and promises made to level the playing field and spread the load and yet there to be no resolution of the matter. This points at the very least to wilful indifference, if not outright discrimination. We now await the findings of the latest committee which is tasked to report in a week, but hold out little hope of a resolution. The careless destruction of the power sector generally will be the resounding legacy of this government.