FEDERAL Investment Minister Waqar Ahmed Khan, who also seems to hold the portfolio for pipe dreams, announced at the unveiling of a draft policy that Pakistan expects to draw $75 billion worth of investment over the next five years, averaging out to $15 billion a year. While it is difficult not to immediately like the honourable minister for his optimism, a studied review of our investment climate would reveal that the said optimism is unfounded. No one would deny the assumption on which Mr Khan has premised his conclusions; that the country has huge potential for investment. But a number of factors have led to a dampening of this potential. First and foremost is the War on Terror. The minister pointed out that the country's image abroad has been improving because of the state's military actions against the Taliban. Even though that might be true, foreign investors would have fresh in their minds the military's perceived unwillingness to take on the militants in the first place. And their minds would not be put to rest on this particular issue unless they see some very solid actions on this front. Even if they are convinced of the military's resolve, the problem still does persist. Second comes our precarious energy profile. There isn't enough juice to power us all. The country is able to produce around 80 percent of its energy needs. This not only suffocates industry and commerce but also leads to civil unrest. We might make history by having the first full-blown energy riots, dwarfing the summer scuffles we had been seeing of late. But it is specifically the energy sector in which the minister says there is going to be considerable investment. Qatar, he says, is expected to invest in the gas sector and other foreign companies have invested heavily in power projects worth up to 3500 MW. Another aspect that the minister pointed out was the possible establishment of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in the northwest. This is the one thing that might rake in a figure that would be at least comparable to the $75 billion that the minister mentioned. But it remains to be seen whether the US government is actually serious about the whole ROZ project. Much time has passed without there being any headway on this particular front. The circumstances of the time since interest in the project was first expressed have been, granted, far from ideal. It is hoped, however, that all analyses that have mocked the minister's rosy predictions, including this one, are proved wrong.