There are continued optimistic reports of the energy situation becoming better. That the government has made the importation of solar panels easier, that the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) has made another discovery of Gas in Attock, that leading Russian oil/gas exploration and production companies have agreed to invest in the oil and gas sector of Pakistan. So, where’s our gas and electricity?

Most recently, Pakistan Vanasptai Manufacturers Association has announced country wide protests against the suspension of gas supply in Punjab. We forget how interlinked the economy is. Sui-gas is cracked to obtain hydrogen- a raw material mandatory to manufacture standardised ghee and cooking oil. If gas supply to such industries is not restored, there is a likelihood of severe shortage of ghee and price hike in food items. Then the Lahore High Court ordered the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to take action against the companies that raise the prices of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) by themselves. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project will be completed by October 2017 as contractual agreements have been finalized. But will it have the same fate as the Iran pipeline that we don’t have money to build and we have to pay reparations to Iran for not fulfilling our end of the bargain? The TAPI pipeline will deplete our foreign reserves, but do we have a choice? Our own “discoveries” of gas and coal and gold never amount to anything.

Our state should be encouraging people to install solar panels on every rooftop. The imposition of high duties and taxes on them had not been well thought out. Solar panels should be subsidised along with LED lighting, in order to relieve pressure on the national grid, the energy import bill, the people and the environment. The government has been “taking initiatives” to resolve the gas crisis for the past decade. For a frequently touted resource-rich country, we are extremely poor.