It’s Load Shedding, Stupid!

load shedding

During the 1990s, American President Bill Clinton is said to have kept a sign on his desk which read simply, “It’s the Economy, Stupid!” The sign was meant to remind him at all times what he should be working on if he wanted to remain popular among the masses. As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faces protests and failing support, he should borrow Bill Clinton’s idea and place in the middle of his office a sign that reminds him every day: “It’s Load Shedding, Stupid!”

Imran Khan is planning his next round of protests based on alleged discrepancies in the 2013 elections, but it’s not allegations of vote rigging that are hurting the government.

The popular view that Mr Sharif is floundering has been reinforced by his failure to end power cuts lasting up to 16 hours a day during the heat of summer and by his 10-day visit to Saudi Arabia on a spiritual journey at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan…

In the poor Barakahu neighbourhood on the outskirts of Islamabad, Faqeer Khattak, a truck driver who voted for the PML-N last year, echoes common complaints about power cuts and electrical appliances being damaged by unreliable electricity supplies.

“Our fridge broke down and we now use it for storing shoes and clothes,” he says. “I will never vote for this party again because they have failed to improve conditions in Pakistan.”

Nawaz has responded to critics by echoing Asif Zardari and saying that Pakistan can only make progress if it continued to move forward on the path of democracy. Completing a term may have been a good enough goal for the last government (though it wasn’t enough to win re-election), but it certainly isn’t enough now.

Load shedding has reached historic levels to the degree that it is not merely an inconvenience but presenting an imminent threat to the national economy. This should be especially bothersome to the industrialist whose primary political asset is supposed to be his ability to manage the economy.

Nawaz is barely one year into his term, and already things appear to be falling apart. It’s not too early to lose control, but it’s not too late to save it either. If Nawaz wants to save his legacy, he needs to do something quick. It’s not hard to find the obvious answer, either: It’s Load Shedding, Stupid!

EXCLUSIVE: Imran’s Energy Plan Revealed

Imran Khan has a new promise, and it’s one that is likely to please the masses. If elected, Imran Khan promises to solve the energy crisis within five years. Now, I know what you are thinking. How is Imran Khan going to do what no other government till date has been able to accomplish, and within five years only? Is this just another empty promise from a man who will say absolutely anything to get elected? Or does he know something we don’t?

Today we have an exclusive report that will answer the question. Leaked information reveals Imran’s secret plan to solve the energy crisis so quickly, and it just might work. What is the secret? By five years time PTI will have finally unhooked all the kundas used for its jalsas.

Load Shedding and Responsibility Shedding

Stealing power in KarachiNext time the lights go out, think about the fact that state agencies owe Rs70 BILLION in payments for electricity. Before we go making the usual complaints about corrupt politicians ruining everything, take a look at the list of defaulters

Supreme Court: Rs3.5 million
ISI: Rs8.2 million
IB: Rs2.7 million
FIA: Rs8.3 million
Punjab police department: Rs140 million
Islamabad police: Rs20 million
Rangers (Punjab): Rs52.25 million
Rangers (Sindh): Rs75 million

Of course the usual suspects are present also, Pakistan Railways, Senate, etc etc etc.

The point is that nobody is innocent. We all want electricity, but no one wants to pay for it. Dawn says that “the onus is on the government, which regularly raises power tariffs, to show the way and desist from its profligate use of electricity.”

Which is convenient, obviously. We’ll pay our share as soon as the government pays its share.

But we’re a democracy now.

Which means the government is us.

Time to pay the bill.