The PML-N must have had an idea of how difficult it would be. What happened on Tuesday in Faisalabad when a mob attacked a grid station is deplorable yet it reflects that patience is in short supply. This is despite the fact that the central government has inherited the crisis from its predecessor, and they from their predecessors before them, but as an excuse this will no longer do. The people simply cannot stay quiet in the face of 20 hours blackouts.

Police is pursuing the miscreants; the punishments should be meted out in accordance with law as this kind of behaviour must never be allowed. There is, however, another side to the demonstrations as well. This is an appalling reminder that whatever the water and power ministry intends doing, it should promptly get down to business. Against this backdrop, some measures are being taken that might ramp up generation at least in the short-term. Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has formed a Cabinet Committee on Energy that has Mian Shahbaz Sharif as one of its members. Although, its meetings would hopefully yield something practical in the days to come as it considers and forms an opinion on what really needs to be done; allocation of up to Rs 500 billion for paying off the circular debt and that too in just 60 days comes as a much needed ray of hope. What this means is that the power houses would once again start generating electricity. But that suggests a palliative since a country with a fragile economy cannot be a slave to furnace oil to keep these power engines running. Obviously, this cannot work indefinitely. The solution lies in hydel energy. It is the same economic survey that cautions us that the situation might remain bleak, owing to phenomenal increase in the number of gas and electricity consumers, which is simply widening the demand and supply gap by the hour.

Meanwhile, news from Lahore is that Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif is considering importing electricity from India. Given the incident in Faisalabad, an event that provides a peep into the collective psyche battered by blackouts and scorching heat, we need to explore various means but this is something that doesn’t make much sense, obviously when we mix foreign relations with power crisis. Besides, just the other day, another example of India’s intimidating attitude was witnessed when two of its fighter jets ventured into our airspace. The need instead is to speed up projects like the IP pipeline. Time for fiddling around with odd projects is over. Clearly, a no-nonsense strategy is needed to get out of the vicious circle.