LAHORE – The business community Friday welcomed Indian offer to supply 5,000MW of electricity to meet energy requirements and said that the government should accept the offer without any further delay as it would definitely bridge the gap between demand and supply that hardly crosses the 5000 MW mark.

LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the Indian offer is very much doable project as electricity from India could easily transmitted to Pakistan through Punjab without much delay. However, some other business community leaders, including former chairman of the Pakistan Poultry Association Abdul Basit, showed strong concerns on the said deal. Criticising the Indian offer, he said that the rival country wanted to sell electricity to Pakistan, which is actually generated by our own waters. He said that the question is whether Pakistan should have fallen for the lure, with the perception of several bad experience of 64 years since independence. He said that the Kashmir tragedy exemplified by the forcible and illegal occupation of the state and the going back of the commitment contained in the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir for holding a free and fair plebiscite are stark reminders of New Delhi’s treachery. The dispute has led the two countries to two wars, caused immense suffering to the people of Kashmiris. This example alone should have been enough to put us on guard against any of attempts to tempt us with an alluring offer like power supply that could turn out to be ruinous for us when it is suddenly suspended.

He said that India could easily make Pakistan’s industry and life in general hostage by withholding the supply of electricity. Rather, we should instead go ahead with the Iranian gas pipeline project on a war footing, besides focusing on the exploitation of nuclear, hydel and coal resources to have enough energy.

On the other hand, LCCI was of the view that electricity shortage has created anarchy-like situation in the country, particularly in the province of the Punjab where not only the industrialists and the traders but people from all walks of life were staging protests.

The LCCI President said that the crisis in industrial sector is not only causing flight of capital and relocation of industrial units to the countries like Bangladesh and Malaysia but had also reduced government revenues drastically.

He said that unprecedented energy crisis has tarnished the image of the government, not only in the eyes of masses but in the eyes of foreign investors who are making way to the other countries of South Asia.

He said that business community wants play its best role for the progress and prosperity of the country but the people sitting at the helm of affairs were doing the other way.

He said that offer from the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani will not only help in overcoming the energy crisis but would also strengthen the relations of the two neighboring countries.

The LCCI President urged the government to also go ahead with the Iranian gas pipeline project on a war footing, besides taking up other power generation projects and focusing on the exploitation of hydel and coal resources to have enough energy to meet domestic, industrial and agricultural needs.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh hoped that the government would also allocate sufficient amount of money for Kalabagh dam that is a natural site for a large reservoir that can go on feeding the national electricity grid and agricultural needs of water for year and years to come.