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New vistas

Pakistan has become full member of Shangai Cooperating Organization (SCO) which will open for it new vistas of economic cooperation and development with a number of countries provided it puts its own house in order in terms of progressive economic reforms. In a statement in the meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Governments, the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqn Abbasi said that becoming full member of this organization Pakistan is all set to bring more vitality in the organization as it possesses tremendous potential for global and regional trade besides promoting economic activities.

Prime Minister said that SCO holds tremendous potential for connectivity, trade, energy and economic development. It could lead to progress and prosperity in the region, he added. However, he cautioned against the politicization of development projects. He said Pakistan is big consumer market of 200 million people and CPEC compliments the SCO, s vision of connectivity and economic interaction.

Pakistan can reap the fruits of economic integrating in SCO only when it improves its domestic economic environment by meaningful economic reforms otherwise it will remain a consumer market and will not acquire its share in the production activities of this economic block. Reliance on a large number of indirect taxes for revenue generation and not extending the tax base through direct taxes, by taxing the affluent sections of the society, has wiped out the comparative advantage of our primary commodities and finished goods. The sky high tariffs of energy inputs have created stagnation in the economy. That is why the country could not avail the benefits of GSP plus for exports to the European Union and tax exemption given for access to the American market.

The complimentarity facto r is also vital for economic gains in Regional integration and bilateral economic cooperation. It was the complementarity of South Korean, Taiwanese and Malaysian economies with that of Japan which paved the way for the spectacular economic growth in these developing countries. These Asian Tigers invested heavily in human resource development to absorb and indigenize the imported modem technologies. Ironically, the civilian governments in Pakistan substantially slash down the budget allocations for higher education. The devolution of higher education to the provinces under 18th Amendment to the Constituting has given a death blow to human resource development.

Regional integration and agreements of Free Trade enhances the volume to trade which is mutually beneficial. But in case of bilateral trade between China and Pakistan the trade deficit of the latter is widening at a very fast space. The main reason is that low quality and high prices of our products make impossible to sell our goods in the Chinese market. The ambassador of China Yao Jing, in an interview with national daily news paper, made it clear the industrial parks and special economic zones along CPEC will empower investors and businessmen from Pakistan to raise their production capabilities and increase their exports to China. Do we have the required technical and managerial expertise and conducive business environment to achieve this goal? The answer is no because the ruling feudal and mercantile elite will be reluctant to create an appropriate environment for it by withdrawing regressive indirect taxes and bringing the rich people in the tax net who are so far out of the net of direct taxes Their thinking is still caught in the medieval age in the current 21st century which is a century of knowledge explosions, inventions and innovations.

The regional and global connectivity via CPEC will not be complete unless peace and stability return to Afghanistan which seems unlikely in the near future. The Prime Minister, in his statement in SCO meeting, has made a reference to CASA and TAPI gas pipelines in the context of energy supply for which peace and stability in Afghanistan is inevitable. Iran has launched its first phase of strategic Chahbahar Port, opening up a viable trade route between, Iran Afghanistan and India. After the completion of second phase of this project, six Central Asian states, Armenia, Georgia and Belarus will also find it feasible to use the Chahbahar trade route. Pakistan cannot perform a vital role in SCO unless the ruling class is prepared to change the prevailing socio-cultural and economic milieu. Let us hope the global environment will compel them to do that.

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Perpetual defiance

Former Prime Minister Nawz Sharif, after his disqualification in Panama Papers case, is still dreaming to come to power by winning next general elections. With this end in view he has started people’s contact campaign to exert pressure on state institutions. He addressed a public meeting in Abottabad on November 19. The main theme of his speech was confined to malign the Judiciary and ridicule of Rule of Law.

Addressing a rally hosted by Pukhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) in Quetta on Saturday Nawaz Sharif vehemently criticized the Judiciary and said he was disqualified for not taking salary from his son and not on corruption charges. He as usual, used a derogatory language against this important institution. He said, “Those deciding that he is no longer honest and righteous are the same people who took oath under Provisional Constitution Order (PCO). “How can you remove a sitting Prime Minister, who did not plunder public money? he asked. The ex Prime Minister said, “When you could not find an excuse for minus-one formula, you disqualified a prime Minister for not receiving a salary from his son.”No one could “minus-one “a person who has been plused by the people.

In true democracies politicians retire from active politics gracefully. But oligarch and up starter politician of Pakistan does not want to quit gracefully. And when the rule of law takes its course he does not want to abide by the norms of dignity and grace. This sort of undemocratic attitude damages the image of a politician in particular and the country in general abroad. It was the tainted reputation of finance minister Ishaq Dar that World Bank declined to receive him for a meeting on South Asian Economies. Consequently, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal had to attend that meeting. The former Prime Minister is pleading for the sanctity of peoples vote and people’s right to remove governments but at the same time shows utter disregard for human lives lost in terrorist attack.  Ironically,he did not say even a single world of condolence and sympathy for the nine people who were martyred in the terrorists attack on Agriculture Training Institute in Peshawar on Friday.  At least he could have said “Dua” for the departed souls before starting his speech loaded with diatribe against the Judiciary. Are the people of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa not human beings? Are they hated because they give mandate to Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf in 2013 general elections? The Former Prime also claims that he was pursuing the goal of development and prosperity but he was removed from power. The ground realities utterly negate his claim. The economic policy of the present government has pushed the country to the verge of abject poverty. Forty percent country’s population is living below the poverty line and thirty percent is confronted with the threat of food insecurity. Unemployment has reached to the peak; debt burden has become unmanageable; and exports have substantially declined. Largenumberof children of school going age are compelled to become scavengers due to extreme poverty. Does it prove the pro-people economic policy of PML-N government?  Democracy is reflected in ones attitude compatible with established norms of decency, love for humanity and respect for the institutions and rule of law. There is no place for Kingship and Dictatorship in a democratic system as demonstrated by ousted Prime Minister.

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Red Peshawar

A second terrorist attack came in Peshawar just with in one week. A hostel of Agriculture Training Institute was stormed by three terrorists on Friday morning killing nine people and wounding 37 others. Tehrik-i- Taiban Pakistan claimed the responsibility of the attack. A few days ago Additional Inspector General Headquarter of KP Police Ashraf Noor was martyred in a suicide blast along with his driver and gunman in Hayatabad.
Receiving the information on the attack, Police and army rushed to the spot with in five minutes and engaged the terrorists whereas in the meanwhile police rescued majority of students from hostel and all residents of the adjacent housing colony. However, six students, one watchman of the institute and one civilian could not be saved. The timely police action and greater coordination between the police and army during the operation against terrorists averted greater tragedy. Three suicide jackets and 20 grenades were recovered from the dead bodies of the attacker. According to Director General ISPR, the attackers were in contact with their handlers inside Afghanistan throughout the assault. He said millions of Afghan Refugees are still living in Pakistan and it is difficult to differentiate between genuine refugees and facilitators of terrorist.
The solution to Afghan problem does not seem possible in the near future. India is using the soil of Afghanistan for acts of terrorism in Pakistan. But the PML-N government is in the state of deliberate hibernation. It has taken upon itself the only duty to defend the disqualified former Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif. On the foreign affairs front there is no clear Afghan policy. The Interior Minister and pseudo-intellectual Ahsan Iqbal consumes all his energy on scolding PTI leadership, making false claims of economic gains and repeating CPEC mantra. Implementation of remaining 17 points of National Action Plan (NAP) with collaboration of provincial governments is permanently out of the priorities of his Ministry. But interestingly, during his visit to Hayatabad Medical Complex to see the wounded people of terrorist attack, he declared that terrorists shall be chased till their total elimination. How can this herculean task be completed when the NAP is buried for the sake of political expediency? NACTA is dysfunctional. Provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh are not serious in carrying out clean up operation against the sleeper cells of band outfits in Southern Punab and interior Sindh. Counter narrative to change the mindset of extremism has not been built for fear of losing the vote bank. One popular opinion about the PMLN leaders in general public is that there is secret dealing with these militant groups to ensure their own safety. It is pertinent to mention that CM Punjab Shabaz Sharif speech at Jamia Naeemia Lahore in 2010 points to this collusion. Keeping in view the volatile situation of the region, war on terror will be a long drawn out phenomenon like the Srilankan civil war. There is a dire need for a comprehensive Afghan policy and a plan for internal security to be immediately implemented if at all the political leadership is keen to win the war on terror.

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Vibrant democracy

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the first unit of 1320 Mega Watts coal fired thermal power plant at Port Qasim, the prime Minister Shahid Kaqan Abbasi reiterated his resolve towards strengthening and taking forward democracy in the country. He said election will be held in August next year and our future lies in democracy, adding that there is no choice here. Prime Abbasi said, “We have a vibrant democracy; we have freedom of expression; we have free media; and together the institutions of state have delivered for the people of Pakistan. We may have differences of opinion, we may have Dharna; we may have differences; but institutions of state stood together to defeat terrorism and reject extremism”, he maintained.

There is no denying of the fact that future of the country is linked with democracy. But actions of oligarchic political elite do not commensurate what they say about the virtues of democracy. The political parties are run like family limited companies and there is no internal democracy with in their structures and organization. One man say is the order of day. The disqualified former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is still running the affairs of the country through remote control acquired under certain provisions of 18th Amendment to the Constitution. The sitting prime Minister is compelled to look up to him for decisions on various matters. Is this true and vibrant democracy? Genuine party elections are not held to organize political parties on democratic principles and traditions. Party tickets are sold for millions of rupees to the so called electable, who after becoming members of parliament give precedence to self interest over the weal and welfare of the people and purist of national interest. They seldom perform their real duty of law making and are always after the acquisition huge development funds, the larger part of which is misappropriated. Lack of Quorums in the lower and upper houses of the parliament has become a routine.

Transparency and rule of law are the basic fundamental of real democracy. The Western counties and India abide by these fundamental in letter and spirit. Does our ruling elite care for them in Pakistan? The answer is a big no. The international contracts, including the LNG deal with Qatar, have not been made in a transparent manner. In democracies the politicians pay their taxes honestly, but in our country tax evasion by the ruling class has become an established norm. Likewise, in democratic system of governments human health is the first priority, but in Pakistan it receives the worst deal. The countries of European Union are closing the coal based thermal power plants although they are using state-of-the-art technologies with built-in advanced antipollution devices. But our government is very much after setting up coal fired thermal power plants of obsolete Chinese technology which are causing half a million deaths every year in China because of fatal diseases like Asthma and cancer. These plants are installed close to the cities with big populations with no safety systems, ignoring the bitter fact that they will bring innumerable sufferings for the people.

The Paris Agreement of Climate Change emphasizes the closure of such hazardous power plants and urges embellishment of environment friendly hydro and wind power plants. Unfortunately, the ruling elite have all along shown indifference and animosity to the construction of big dams and hydro power stations. Consequently, precious water resources valuing $ 22 billion are thrown into the sea every year. Vibrant democracy does not mean merely general elections on time electing the oligarchy. It is the democratic attitude reflected in the weal and welfare of the people. We are still far away from this glorious destination.

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Violating fiscal discipline

The federal government has turned a deaf ear to the World Bank warning to address the macro-economic imbalances and resort to tight fiscal discipline to successfully meet its external obligations and avoid the risk of enormously mounting debt burden. But it has gone for upward revision of budget deficit. The government has now admitted that budget deficit in the first quarter of the current financial year actually stood at Rs. 431 billion, higher by one third than the amount announced last month.

The admission came after Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abassi took back the portfolio of Finance Ministry from Ishaq Dar last week. “Based on the actual data, the overall fiscal deficit for July-September 2017 has been worked out at 1.2 percent of gross domestic product (Rs. 431 billion), said the finance ministry in a statement. The new reading is roughly 33 percent or Rs.107 billion higher than the earlier figure. Interestingly, the finance ministry has deviated from the established practice of unveiling a consolidated fiscal operation summary on its website and instead released a vague press release.

The finance ministry has already withheld release of Debt Risk Management Report apparently because of worsening economic indicators The International Monetary Fund has urged the government to release the debt report. Surging debt and acute trade imbalance is eroding the economic gains of large scale manufacturing.  Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed concern over the fast widening trade gape and rising foreign debt in a statement issued on Tuesday. The statement says these factors are reversing benefits of hard earned gains and the situation will become critical if immediate remedial measures are not taken

Trade deficit can be tackled by facilitating exports. The Pakistan Textile Exporter Association PTEA) has demanded for regionally competitive energy prices, release of pending refunds and fast track implementation of the export growth package. Textile exports have shown an appreciable rise of 7.72 percent in July-October and the growth could further increase by addressing the remaining challenges. High cost of production is a major stumbling block in boosting textile exports. The cost of energy inputs has reached an alarming stage, making the country’s products uncompetitive in the international market. The price of electricity is abnormally high as compared with countries competing Pakistan in the world market. The electricity tariff in Bangladesh is Rs. 3 per unit; in India it is Rs. Five, and in Pakistan it is Rs. 20 plus per unit. Likewise, gas tariff in Bangldesh is $ 3 per Million British Thermal Unit (mbtu), in India $4.2 mbtu whereas in Pakistn gas is available at $ 7.6per mbtu for local gas and regasified imported liquefied natural gas at $ 11 per mbtu. The price differential of gas between India and Pakistan is unreasonably high as the former does not have reserves of natural gas and is entirely dependent on imported gas for domestic and commercial uses.

The exports facilitation policy of the government is selective. The Economic Coordination Committee, in its meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thusday, decided to allow the export of 1.5 million meteoric tons of surplus sugar for which a subsidy of Rs. 12 per kilogram is already available but the same facility is not given to exporters of rice, surgical items sports goods and light engineering products. The rice Exports Association (REA) has informed the government that it can export additional quantity of basmati rice to European Union valuing $ 265 million in view of the likely ban on export of Indian rice. The primary driver in the government’s decision making is politics and not prudent economic management. That is why sugar lobby in the parliament is given financial incentives and Rs. 250 billion in the garb of development funds will be doled out to PML-N members of Senate, National Assembly and legislators of Punjab Assembly to manipulate the next general election. Addressing the macro economic imbalances, mounting fiscal deficit and debt burden are not the priority of PML-N government.

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Crying over spilt milk

People of the country have heaved a sigh of relief over the end of sit-in at Faizabad Interchange and protest across the country. But the federal government and government of Punjab seem to be disillusioned and frustrated over the amicable resolution of the most sensitive issue purposely ignited by the government itself and then did not know how to resolve it.  The military leadership deserves a lot of appreciation, for their forbearance, sagacity and the vital role they played to save the country from the likely chaos.

The Federal Minister for Interior, Ahsan Iqbal has said that Faizabad Dharna has raised many questions and opined that such like crisis weakens the state instead of the government. He said that a few failed politicians threw petrol on a small amber and managed to lit a big fire, adding that it was the moral obligation of the leaderships of political parties to have lent unflinching support to the Law Minister Hamid  Zahid. Ahsan Iqbal admitted that civilian and military institutions joined hand to restore peace in the country.

Demonstrating Punjabi Chaunism and animosity against Pukhtoons, the Minister alleged that Lieutenant General (R) Tariq Khan backed the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehrik  Dharna in the D-Square of Islamabad. He ignored the fact that the General had a brilliant record in the war on terror and successfully completed the operations against militants in Mohamand and Bajur Agencies during his tenure as Inspector General Frontier Crops. The country is confronted with external and internal threats and the political leadership should promote national cohesion rather than advocating parochial tendencies. The Interior Minister is speaking the language of the disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who in his diatribe against the state institutions used to harp on the tune of Dacca Debacle. What does this mean? Former President Asif  Zadari had to say in a current affairs program of a private TV Channel power play that greater Punjab is the dream of Nawaz Sharif.

The State of Pakistan is not a house of cards that it will be weakened by a Dharna or protest. It is the grip of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that has been weakened on his party because of quagmire of corruption in which he is now stuck. The abstention of 20 plus members of National Assembly during the vote on opposition bill seeking amendment in Clause 203 of the Election Act 2017 is an eye opening example for the leadership of ruling PML-N. Time is up for the useless blame game and we should move on for stabilizing a healthy democratic culture.

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Ordeal is over

Leader of Tehrik-i- Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) has announced calling of the sit in at Faizabad Interchange paralyzing the Federal Capital Islamabad for about three weeks. The government agreed to accept the demands of TLY and with the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid first demand has been fulfilled. The demands pertaining to make public Raja Zafar UL Haq Report, release of arrested protestors, constitution of enquiry board for the conduct of clearance operation and compensation for the loss of government and private properties shall be met later.

The people heaved a sigh of relief that at last the government showed prudence to end the sit in through negotiations and signing of agreement acceptable to both parties. If the demand for the removal of law minister was met before the protestors started their March from Lahore, the state writ would not have been eroded and loss of seven lives along with valuable government and private properties could have been avoided. Moreover, the image the country in the comity of nations could not have damaged. The coverage of the abortive clearance operation by the western medial brought a misnomer for the soft and moderate image of the country. The United States, UK and other western countries issued travel advisory, advising their nationals to avoid unnecessary journey of Pakistan.

The sit-in of TLY exposed this bitter fact that the leadership of ruling PML-N is either not inclined to resolve issues politically or is devoid of wisdom and sagacity to do so. That is why, Chief of Army Staff had to cut short his visit of United Arab Emirates and make a hasty return to the country to resolve the problem of Faizabad protest and its spillover effect. The credit goes to the military leadership for amicably resolving the issue which may have brought disorder and Chaos to the country. Ironically the Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal is shifting the buck of botched operation to Islamabad administration, whereas the district administration can not issue order for operation without he consent of competent authority which is Interior Minister.  The PML-N leadership used to make scapegoats for their wrong doings. Model Town Tragedy and Dawn Leaks are the classic examples of their undemocratic and irrational behavior. It is time for soul-searching and running the affairs of the state in accordance with the established norms of democracy and shun dictatorial tendency in case the political elite sincerely want the nascent democracy to flourish and become strong and functional.

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Inevitable Sanity

The tough resistance put up by the protestors of three religious parties Tehrik-i- Khatm-i-Nabuwwat, (TKN), Tehrik-i- Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY), and Sunni Tehrik (ST) at Faizabad Interchange and the ensuing blowback, compelled the federal government to suspend the operation to end their three weeks long sit-in. Roughly 8,500 Elite Police and paramilitary troops in riot gear took part in the clearance operation but could not disperse the protestors numbering hardly 2000. Six people were killed and 170 injured in the clearance operation and protest demonstrations.

The PML-N leadership at the centre and Punjab government mishandled the protest of religious parties ignited by the deliberate amendments to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath camouflaged in election Act 2017 to pave the way for Nawaz Sharif to become party president. The Punjab government allowed the protest rally to come all the way from Lahore to Faizabad and lay siege to the Capital city, Islamabad. What were the political motives behind this delaying tactics? Was there any motive of deriving political mileage? Did Captain Safdar  (R), son-in- law of Nawaz Sharif give this statement out of humor or it was a serious note that he would join the Faizabad sit-in if invited?

The Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal regularly change his stance viz-a-viz this problem. At one time, he clamed this Dharma is trap set for the government to land in it. The protestors want action replay of Model Town. Afterwards he changed his stance and said it is conspiracy against PML-N to deprive it of the vote bank of Baralvi School of thought.  But after launching clearance operation, the Interior Minister said on Saturday that the protesters had contacted India. He said,” Why they did it, we are looking into it. They have insider information and resources that are being used against the state” What does this conspiracy theory signify? Is it not the state of utter confusion in the federal government? Is Interior Minister serving the mouthpiece of the disqualified PM?

At this critical moment a sagacious and dynamic leadership is missing. The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is not performing the leadership role. He has preferred to stay in the background and let his disqualified predecessor, Nawaz Sharif to call shots.  Does this have a rationale to create a political and administrative vacuumed for someone’s personal aggrandizement? The Prime Minister and top leadership PML-N had a meeting in Jati Umra Raowan, which presided over by the party chief Nawaz Sharif to weigh different options with the demands put forward  of TLY. Their main demand is sacking on the Law Minister Shahid Hamid. According to a source in the party, the Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal briefed Nawaz Sharif about the government plan to end the sit-in by TLYRA at Faizabad through use of force. Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif also told the party chief about the arrangements his government has made in Punjab to handle any untoward situation in the wake of Police operation. Chairing a law and order meeting in the backdrop of violent protest demonstrations across the country by a disqualified person instead of Chief Executive of the country is synonymous with situation of disarrayed “Khalsa Darbar” in mid 19th century. It would have been appropriate if this very important meeting has been chaired by the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad in attendance with the Chief Ministers of all provinces and all members of federal cabinet along with high officials of the federal and provincial governments. This utter chaos can be dealt through dialogues if the federal government is seriously interested in solving the problem that they have created in the first place.

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Gems of police

Another brilliant and outstanding police officer of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa embraced martyrdom in the line of duty. Additional Inspector General (AIG) Ashraf Noor was martyred in suicide blast targeting his vehicle near Zarghoni Mosque in Phase 2 of Hayatabad Township, Peshawar. The suicide attacker on motorbike rammed into police vehicle, carrying the Assistant Inspector General and other police officials. They were on their way to work.  At least six policemen were injured who were shifted to Hayatabad Medical Complex for treatment.  Habib Ullah, a staff member of the AIG also embraced martyrdom.

KP police is a unique force which has rendered sacrifices from the rank of Constable to Inspector General. It has lost the precious gems of police. A few names are: Sifwat Ghaur, Malik Saad, Abid Ali, Khan Raziq, Gulfat Hussain, Rashid Khan Khursid Khan and now Ashraf Noor. One can not control his tears while describing their sacrifices for the service of the nation. In all 1200 hundred police officials have lost their lives in terrorist attacks.  Police has been all along in the front of imminent threats but they have not been providing with vehicles which can ensure their safety from suicide bombers and rapid attack by the latest automatic weapons. It is for the political leadership to seriously think about the safety of policemen who are on guard, round the clock to serve the country and provide protection to the people.

The war in Afghanistan has direct fall out on KP being the frontline province. The terrorists of banned outfits easily cross the porous Pak- Afghan Border and after passing through FATA reach the settled areas for attacks on the targets of their choice. Police have arrested five alleged militants of TTP in Shabqadar and recovered 40 Kg of explosives, mortar shells, speaker magnet and IEDs. Officials of law enforcing agencies are particularly on their hit list. But the decision makers seem oblivious of it or deliberately ignore it as these government leaders always travel in bomb proof cars. Burying head in the sand like ostrich from the imminent threat does not provide safety from it. The National Action Plan has been put on the back burner. National Counter Terrorism Authority should be made fully operational.  An effective mechanism for closer coordination between the federal and provincial governments should be put in place. Global terrorism will not end in the foreseeable future as Daesh has entered the war theater of Afghanistan. The United State is pursuing the military option in Afghanistan. Peace and stability may not return to this war torn country in the near future because instability in this region was the intention of the US all along. The political leadership should chalk out a comprehensive policy for internal security.

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Oil exploration, an anemic snail

Addressing the concluding ceremony of Technical Conference, Prime Minster Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged the foreign companies to avail the oil exploration opportunities in Pakistan. He said security situation has changed altogether. He claimed that after the improvement of law and order situation, various areas were now open for exploration which was unsafe in the past.

The Prime Minister observed that last four and half years proved to be historic for the energy sector in Pakistan as the country has replenished its reserves by successfully making around 100 discoveries. However, a lot more is yet to be done as the country would require more energy to achieve its growth targets. He said that the country was fast moving towards optimal energy mix by exploiting its potential in coal wind and hydro sector.

The Prime Minister has rightly emphasized on massive foreign investment in oil and gas exploration to achieve self reliance in the production of crude oil for which the refining facilities are available. The production of crude oil is stagnant at 97,000 barrel per day and the refining capacity is 400000 barrel per day. The total oil consumption is 300000 barrels per day. The oil import bill is $ 7.3 billion per year. The oil producing countries may curtail the quantum of crude oil production to avoid losses in production cost. In this scenario our oil import bill will go up exacerbating the balance of payment situation.

The new discoveries have to be made operational on fast track basis and production has to be enhanced from the already operational oil well. The daily production from the oil wells in the southern districts of KP is much below the optimum level. Moreover, the federal government has not extended assistance to the KP government to set up an oil refinery in Karak District. Crude oil from three different oil fields is transported in oil tanker to the refineries in Punjab. Likewise, the scope of exploration is not being extended to some other districts of KP where the chances of new discoveries are very bright.

No doubt security environment has apparently and temporarily improved but it is still not entirely satisfactory. The martyrdom of Major Ishaq in operation against terrorists in Kulachi a few days ago and that of a senior police officer Police Officer Muhammad Ashraf Noor in Peshawr on Friday is a warning from the militant outfits’ that they are strong enough to hit the targets of their choosing. Why it seems whenever, the government which has buried the NAP boasts of stability and extermination of terrorism, the terror attack takes place particularly in KP and Baluchistan???? These tragic incidents negates the tall claims of the ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif , sitting Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas and federal Ministers about breaking the back of terrorists and wiping out terrorist dens and sleeper cells.. Foreign investment is a fine weather business and the incidents of terrorism in Baluchistan and KP impact the investment in oil exploration in the country. The sleeper cells in Southern Punjab and Interior Sindh are yet to be cleared. The federal and provincial governments have pushed the implementation of National Action Plan to the bottom of priority list. The over all security environments are not conducive for foreign investment. The incidents like abduction of Chinese couple in Quetta in May and China’s Embassy letter to the Interior Ministry for providing security to its diplomats certainly scare away foreign investment. The paralysis of the federal government by the sit-in of zealots of religious parties has not been received well by foreign diplomats. They will certainly caution the companies of their countries to be careful while embarking upon investment in Pakistan.

The contention of fast movement towards the target of optimal energy is not realistic. The country is miles away from this goal. The two coals based thermal power plants are under completion and the Chinese investors are no longer interested in the construction of thermal power plants at Pind Dadenkhan and Gaddani. Chairman WAPDA has recently informed the standing Committee on Water and Power that China’s conditions for the financing of Dia-Mir Basha Dam are not acceptable and the project has been with drawn from CPEC framework. Nelum Jehlum hydro power project is not expected to start power generation early 2018. The schedules for the construction of Monda and Kurram Tangi hydropower projects have not been announced. The contribution of wind power is less than 2 percent in the total energy mix. The share of costly thermal power generated by furnace oil and diesel is 70 percent in and that of hydro, nuclear and other sources is hardly 30 percent. Foreign investment particularly in oil exploration will not come unless the security environment is significantly improved on permanent basis for which the implementation of all points National Action Plan is inevitable which has been shelved because of political expediency and vested interest.