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August 18, 2020

Powerless nation amid populist politics of rulers

Peshawar

August 18, 2020

PESHAWAR: The inefficiency of Wapda and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), coupled with the government lack of performance, has turned Pakistanis into a nation of Chowkidars because people have to take care of their home appliances due to frequent power outages on the one hand and suffer sleepless nights due to the intense heat of the summer on the other.

There used to be few watchmen in the past and even today they exist, taking care of shops and homes at night against any thefts. But thanks to the government and Wapda, the entire nation has got this habit of watchmen. They guard and switch on an electricity generator in case light goes off and switch it off once the power supply is restored. The people have to take care of home appliances, so they do not go out of order due to frequent electricity outages. There are those who have auto generators or UPS that have enough charge and also the solar units are getting popular among people.

Most of the people in rural areas have started using solar units because they have power supply from Wapda for a few hours and they have to depend on solar systems mostly. However, the situation in the cities too is getting troublesome nowadays. On the other hand, there are have-nots, those who can neither afford auto power generators or other facilities but have to depend on the Wapda and have to “grin and bear it”. While the media officer of the Pesco did not respond to queries about the reasons behind the tripping and massive power cuts in the ongoing situation, the fact remains that the government overall has been focusing on populist politics, and ignoring the real issues and problems of people.

The government is more interested in opening projects like BRT, motorway and others, which can earn them political mileage. However, the major issue faced by the country, the power load-shedding and energy crisis, could not be solved by successive governments although the problem has made life miserable for all in the country. While the population of the country has been increasing but there has been little attention on increasing the electricity generation.

Calamities also play a key role in affecting a country’s resources and in this respect, the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods are also cited as two of the reasons behind the energy crisis. But a major issue is the lack of planning by authorities concerned, whereas the current PTI government has also failed to realise its announcement of constructing small dams and powerhouses on rivers in the country. On the other hand, the government had once talked of buying electricity from Iran and China. At least the government should have solved this problem urgently in the hot weather through such measures. Amid the ongoing CPEC project, the government should also take up the issue of the energy crisis and buy electricity from China on cheaper rates, while also launching sustainable power generation projects of its own to solve the problem in the long run.