Our energy crisis has many dimensions requiring a composite approach towards sustainable solution. As an essential ingredient of power policy jigsaw, we have to achieve a balance of at least two critical aspects i.e. availability and affordability of power. Hydroelectricity is one of the cheapest way of power generation, however its capacity and efficiency depends upon the availability of requisite water reservoirs. Climate dependent variations in water reservoirs result in proportionate spikes in the generation capacity of hydropower stations. Therefore, shortfall during the lean water availability periods needs to be met through supplementary means. Hydroelectricity is likely to remain our mainstay in the foreseeable future. That is why there is so much emphasis, and indeed national consensus, regarding development of additional water reservoirs. Notwithstanding the long list of underdevelopment and futuristic water reservoirs, water alone cannot meet our entire power requirement, round the year. Hence, there is a need to look for alternative means for power generation. Our coal reserves present an option. Being an indigenous commodity, it will not be subject to external pricing pressures. However, coal is not an environment friendly fuel. Therefore it needs to be looked at as a contingency backup to other generation sources. Furnace oil fired projects are subject to the fluctuations of oil prices in the international market. Our recent experience with IPPs in the wake of extraordinary rise in oil prices has not been quite refreshing. Despite availability of generation capacity, we could not procure electricity from IPPs due mounting circular debt. Moreover, by default these are an expensive source of power generation. Gas is a relatively cheaper source and is not subject to as much price variations; therefore, it emerges as a preferred alternative fuel for electricity generation, while ensuring relatively stable cost. Our national gas reserves are not sufficient to meet the gross national consumption. Hence, there is a need to import natural gas from friendly countries. Much talked about Central Asian sources (say, TAPI pipe line project etc) are a promising offer, but their prospects of early exploitation are hit by two snags, firstly the development of requisite infrastructure for conveying of gas is contingent upon sustained stability in Afghanistan that may take an indefinite time. Secondly, track record of CARs with respect to price stability is not good. Gas supplying countries have, at times, resorted to cutting off of gas flow during extreme winters to impose a price hike on recipient states. IPI pipeline is a another viable project, however it has all along been marred by a step forward and two steps backward analogy. It appears that India has virtually backed off. Recent MOU signed between Iran and Pakistan is a welcome step. Keeping in view the dire necessity and urgency, Pakistan had to accede to an unfavourable pricing pressure from Iran. Hopefully, the project would endure the further pressures that be, stay intact and see the daylight in due course. Assured import of gas from Iran would help either in generation of about 4000 MW of electricity or it could add up to the overall gas availability for domestic and industrial usage, the project could mature within a mid-term timeframe, say about three to five years. Import of electricity is another option that can mitigate the power shortage in immediate timeframe. In this context, project CASA 1000 envisages transfer of 1000 MW electricity from Central to South Asia. Once again, the project could only be viable when Afghanistan acquires sustained tranquillity. Hence, Central Asian projects cannot become a factor for, say, during next 10 years. In the prevalent circumstances, Iran is the only source from where electricity could be purchased immediately and readily absorbed into national grid at an economical cost. Rental Power Plants is a short-term solution that may come to our immediate rescue. Hopefully, after the retiring of circular debt, IPPs would also be able to operate to their capacity. Our Solar based power generation potential is tremendous. Power from this source is immune from the effects of spikes in fuel prices. We need to exploit this domain and work on the option of developing it as a viable commercial option. Wind turbines projects also have promising growth prospects; these could take care of micro-level power requirements of coastal areas and other gusty zones. Likewise, Bio-power generation can contribute towards electrification of most of our rural settlements. Notwithstanding the exploitation of all these options, Pakistan would continue to stay power deficient and may be a power expensive country till the time nuclear power generation capability becomes a sizeable contributor. Renewed interest by the US to help us resolve power shortage needs to be well tapped. Besides facilitating resource mobilisation for power generation through various conventional methods, America can make singular contribution in the field of nuclear power generation. This would help us in achieving a long-term and sustainable solution to the power shortage. To achieve this, we need to negotiate a Pakistan specific agreement with USA, and subsequently enter into an arrangement with nuclear suppliers group under the auspices of IAEA. In this context, the recent US-India nuclear deal could be a starting reference, but we may not necessarily look for a replica. One could safely conclude that Iran is the only option available at the moment to mitigate our power shortage in the immediate and short-term perspective. Central Asian option will have to wait for compatible stability in Afghanistan. Hence, Central Asian reinforcements could be inducted in the medium-term timeframe. The nuclear option would be an enduring solution notwithstanding its long gestation period. Our composite road map for overcoming power shortage issue needs intricate meshing in of immediate, medium and long-term options. We need to put together our statistics, meticulously and accurately, regarding our projected power requirements and pursue compatible generation milestones persistently. American assistance in this field must not be linked with our arrangements with Iran. Remember only Iran has the key to mitigate our problem in immediate timeframe. American aid is welcome for mid- and long-term ventures, especially in the field of nuclear power generation. We need the cooperation of both these countries, simultaneously, to overcome the power shortage. The writer is a retired air officer of the PAF E-mail: khalid3408@gmail.com