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Light of Raiwind

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

Written by Ruchika Talwar |
June 1, 2013 1:06:10 am

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

LIGHT OF RAIWIND

Pakistan’s prime minister-designate,Nawaz Sharif,has made a belated “sales pitch”. On the occasion of Youm-e-Takbeer,a national day to commemorate Pakistan’s nuclear tests of 1998 under Sharif’s last premiership,he struck an emotional chord with the people. The Express Tribune reported on June 28: “Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif spoke extensively about the energy crisis in his speech on the occasion of Youm-e-Takbeer… Nawaz,who was the PM when Pakistan first responded to India’s nuclear tests in 1998,focused on the rampant energy crisis in the country in his speech. ‘What would others say? That a nation with nuclear capabilities has no electricity?’ he asked. The PML-N chief said the energy crisis does not let him sleep at night and he plans to do his best to address this… ‘I brought the nuclear bomb in my last tenure,this time an economic bomb will explode’,said Nawaz enthusiastically.”

A report in the same paper on May 28 detailed the PML-N’s plan to combat the electricity crisis: “Across the country,the smartphones of high-ranking engineers and energy sector corporate executives are buzzing with emails,texts or phone calls,all emanating from one place: Raiwind. All of them are getting the same message: the PM-elect would like to interview you to be part of the team to revamp the state-owned part of the energy sector. Even before he has been formally sworn in as PM,Nawaz Sharif and his team appear to have begun to implement what appears to be a highly detailed plan to solve Pakistan’s energy crisis… The victorious PML-N has a week-by-week plan on measures… to fulfil their single biggest electoral promise: getting the lights back on. ‘The new government is going to be ruthless in its management of all the public-sector energy companies,’ said Zafar Iqbal Sobani,who was CEO of Hub Power Company until a couple of weeks ago. ‘Expect to see many people summarily fired from these organisations as well as the ministry of water and power. After all,if he is seen as removing incompetent management of the power sector,who will complain?’

The PML-N appears to have done its homework with respect to the power sector. Over the past week,the party’s senior leadership has met with the CEOs of virtually all privately owned power generation companies in a bid to gauge the exact levels of circular debt in the energy sector… Nawaz is not simply asking them how much they have stuck in circular debt: he is matching their figures against numbers that the party has collected from other sources,suggesting a degree of thoroughness in research. The headhunting for new management of the state-owned power generation and distribution companies is one element of that multi-stage strategy…”

MAKING HISTORY

THE National Assembly will usher in it first session today. Considering Pakistan’s history of military coups against democratic governments,this is a historic session. Daily Times’ editorial on May 29 hailed it with the words: “The caretaker PM has called the first session of Parliament on June 1,which will initiate the process of transition. Consensus is also emerging on who will take charge in all the provinces,with the only exception so far being Balochistan. In the given circumstances,it is going to be a smooth transfer of power. Ordinary citizens may be too mired in their daily struggle to understand the significance of the current conjuncture,but future generations will look back on this as a watershed moment.”

FOR THE PROVINCES

WHILE the all-powerful Punjab and the strategically important Balochistan await their new chief ministers and cabinets,Sindh and Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa have already done so and convened the inaugural sessions of their assemblies. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf formed its first ever government with Pervez Khattak being elected by the House as CM,Dawn reported on May 31. The Pakistan Peoples Party formed its government in Sindh. Shahbaz Sharif is the chosen one for the office of Punjab CM. The PML-N,after putting up a good show in Balochistan,has been tasked by the nationalist parties to choose a CM.

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