Pakistan’s chronic energy shortages have combined with widespread perceptions that Washington is more interested in pursuing its anti-terror agenda than assisting the country financially, causing many leading figures to question the value of its relationship with the U.S.
This ambivalence extends to Islamabad’s relationship with its former colonial overlord, Britain. During recent meetings in London Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed bilateral ties, trade, the war against terrorism and the situation along Pakistani-Afghan border.
None of which impacted one of the most critical issues for the average Pakistani, the country’s unending energy crisis, Nawa-e Waqt newspaper reported.
Currently Pakistani consumers along with the country’s industries face rolling electrical blackouts lasting from 12 to 18 hours each day, and similar shortages in the supply of natural gas.
Pakistan’s energy market is now facing a deficit of 3,000-5,000 megawatts and if the government does not develop a progressive plan to address the shortfalls, analysts estimate that within a decade electrical shortages could reach 20,000 MW.
Regional authorities have begun to look elsewhere for energy supplies, even to nations that the U.S. considers problematical. Balochistan’s provincial government has signed an agreement with Iran for providing electricity at six cents per watt, while others advocate seeking energy assistance from China.
The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, has belatedly acknowledged the country’s energy issues, stating that Pakistan’s number one problem is power shortage, telling journalists, “I feel saddened to see closure of the industrial units in Faisalabad or Lahore and I tried level best in Capitol Hill to convince the US Congressmen to provide Pakistan tangible help in this department.”
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com