Saturday, November 19, 2011

Natural Gas Shortage Leading to Bleak Future???

Gas is the driving force behind the economic growth in Pakistan. Supply shortage and bleak availability outlook is forcing Pakistan towards stagnation.

Pakistan currently produces nearly 4 bcfd ‘billion cubic feet per day’ natural gas. Bulk is consumed for power generation “29%”, followed by industrial sector “26%” and (17%) by fertilizer sector.

As per ISGS Analysis, based on SSGCL & SNGPL data, demand is approx 6 bcfd and it outstrips supply resulting in shortfall of 2 bcfd. Industrial sector faces the grunt of gas supply curtailment in winter and currently industrial sector on SNGPL line facing 3 days gas supply cut and expected to further exacerbate.

Based on current gas supply source, it is projected that supply by 2020 will be approx 2.1 bcfd whereas demand will touch 8.5 bcfd, resulting in shortage of 6.4 bcfd.

To address growing gas supply shortage “gas is approx 50% of the energy mix of Pakistan” govt is implementing strategy and it includes;

  1. Increasing domestic oil & gas exploration and production,
  2. Fast tracking utilization of hydro power potential
  3. Expediting the development of vast local coal reserves
  4. Setting-up new nuclear power plants
  5. Importing piped natural gas from neighboring countries
  6. Importing LNG
  7. Importing electricity from neighboring countries
  8. Exploiting affordable alternate energy resources. The Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects are important components of this strategy

It is anticipated that by 2020 new supply avenues will add 5.6 bcfd (New discoveries 1 bcfd by 2020, 1st LNG ‘Liquefied Natural Gas’ project 0.58 bcfd by 2013, IPI ‘Iran Pakistan India’ gas pipeline first phase 1.06 bcfd by 2015, 2nd LNG ‘Liquefied Natural Gas’ project 0.58 bcfd by 2015, TAPI “Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India” 1.34 bcfd by 2015 and another 1.06 bcfd through 2nd phase of IPI by 2017)

The question comes in mind; will Pakistan be able to go ahead with new discoveries in the wake of trouble in Balochistan? Will American influence allow Pakistan to go ahead with IPI? Will peace in Afghanistan be achieved in near future to make TAPI a reality?

Time will tell but it seems tough and time is running out for us.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Water Woes: Pakistan’s Survival At Stake !!

We are a country battling with growing population, depleting water resources and acute energy shortage. Lately I came across an interesting book “Pakistan: A Hard Country” by Anatol Lieven and he identifies water issue, one of the most serious for the survival of Pakistan.

Pakistani population is growing and available water resources are not enough unless we radically improve efficiency of water use.

Lately Karachi bloggers had an interesting discussion with US Under Secretary Maria Otero and she rightly mentioned that Pakistan wastes water resources, instead of using efficient drip irrigation it relies on flood irrigation.

If one looks at old Indian economy it was a gamble on the Indus, civilizations thrived across rivers and destroyed because rivers changed their course or washed them away by floods.

Indus is the main source of water thriving Pakistan’s agriculture sector however it only cultivates 24 percent of area. Furthermore, chronic water over use is resulting in drying up of natural springs; water table is dropping so rapidly that the tube wells will also eventually dry.

There are studies that by 2035, glaciers feeding the Indus will disappear and they are fast melting and water conservation is the need of the hour for Pakistan to ensure enough water is available for future generation. Pakistan needs to focus on agriculture, improve water storage and distribution infrastructure.

As per Anatol Lieven “Pakistan is overly dependent on Indus, climate change, water shortage, possible long term combination of climate change, acute water shortages, poor water infrastructure and steep population growth has the potential to wreck Pakistan as an organized state and society”.

US is one of the leading partners of Pakistan, it is need of the hour that long term international aid projects in Pakistan should be devoted above all to reducing this mortal threat, by promoting reforestation, repairing irrigation system and even more importantly improving the efficiency of water use.

There is an interesting view and no one denies, human beings may survive for centuries without democracy and without much security but they can not live for more than three days without water.

I would like to share an interesting but worrying report on Pakistan water situation published by World Bank. It says “The facts are stark. Pakistan is already one of the most water stressed countries in the world, a situation that is going to degrade into outright water scarcity due to high population growth. There is no feasible intervention which would enable Pakistan to mobilize appreciably more water than it now uses .There are no additional water resources to be exploited and agricultural water use must decline to enable adequate flows into the degrading Indus River Delta. Pakistan’s dependence on a single river system makes its water economy highly risky” .

Another interesting study published by the Woodrow Wilson Center, as per study “by 2025 population growth is likely to mean that Pakistan’s annual water demand rises to 338 billion cubic metres (bcm) – while, unless radical action is taken, Pakistan’s water availability will be around the same as at present, at 236 bcm. The resulting shortfall of 100 bcm would be two-thirds of the entire present flow of the Indus.

It seems frightening but still we have time to fix before it’s too late. I have no doubt on the capabilities of our nation and am sure this region will survive and successfully face the nature’s wrath.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Muhammad Iqbal, Confused Pakistan & Two Nation Theory!!!

To me Pakistan as a person is struggling to dig its identity. Is it an Arab? An Indigenous Indus man? Or somebody else?

Many books have been written to explore Pakistan’s reason d'etat, Barrister Etizaz Ehsan’s book THE INDUS SAGA IN THE MAKING OF PAKISTAN comes in my mind.

Both liberal and right wing historians try to present their own perspective but as an ordinary Pakistani, I always end up with confusion. If Pakistan was created on the basis of Two Nation Theory then who will guarantee the rights to religious minorities in Pakistan. Why “Muslim/Bengali” women were raped and thousands killed in East Pakistan? Whenever I come across Mr. Jinnah’s 11th August speech it creates doubts in my mind regarding the concept of Two Nation Theory & our reason d’etat!!

As Baloch, when we demand for equal rights for our language, people frown and question our patriotism. In school, as kids we are forced to learn basics in URDU ‘an Indo Aryan Indian Language’, verses and characters of alien India or Arabia are forced upon us. Characters such as Mohammad Bin Qasim or Tipu Sultan, all are alien to Baloch kids. At home Baloch kids grow up hearing names & characters such as Chakar & Balach but find them nowhere in history text books in school. Historically colonial powers used to impose history of conquerors and ignore indigenous characters & heroes.

Lately I came across an interesting debate on T.V, vocal Marvi facing right wing Zaid Hamid, she eloquently presented the irrelevance of Two Nation Theory. She also highlighted an interesting fact that Iqbal had role in the making of Pakistan. Iqbal wrote following letter to the editor “The Times, 12th Oct 1931” it clearly shows Iqbal never wanted division of India;

Marvi’s discussion reminds me of an interesting book THE MURDER OF HISTORY written by KK Aziz, it also makes me wonder, can we build nationhood based on the foundation of false history?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pakistan is in Mess- It’s India, America & Israel

Our society is plagued with ailment caused by Jewish, American and Indian agents!!! Its general attitude at individual level to TV talks shows. As a nation we are programmed to accept everything under the sun and blame it on others and never make efforts to fix our problems.

Firstly, Pakistani society is struggling to find common uniting factors, however country was created in the name of religion. If religion is uniting factor then question comes, why we witnessed massacre in East Pakistan? Weren’t Bengali’s Muslims? Why over 100,000 Bengalis killed and over 200,000 women raped? No one can explain the terror outfit Al Badar & Al Shams' horrific actions in East Pakistan!!!

Even if we believe, Islam plays an effective role in creating a bond in our society then questions comes in mind, which sect or sub sect represents true Islam?

Secondly, when we look at the question of nationalities, if a Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi or Pashtun promotes his/her culture and language under the umbrella of Pakistan, it is considered an act leading to the destabilization of federation of Pakistan. Same is the case if provinces ask for autonomy under the umbrella of federation is despised as an act that may result in weak federation. However, 1940s resolution’s essence is about autonomy for federating units.

Thirdly, India is considered enemy number one, everything under the sun happens in Pakistan is blamed on India. Rs 700 billion defense budget out of overall revenue collection of Rs 1,900 billion is planned in the name of Indian threat. Proxy religious monster Jihadis are supported in the name of Indian threat. Quest for strategic depth and interference in Afghanistan is in the name of Indian threat.

Fourthly, Pakistani middle class believes that democracy is not for illiterate Pakistan; they can’t understand and protect our needs and military rule is only answer. However, every time we had military rule, it shook very foundation of federation.

Lastly, we spend Rs 39 billion on education and Rs 27 billion on healthcare and expect to have sane and healthy society.

It is imperative for us to address the question of nationalities, create an identity beyond religion and it has to be based on broader concept that may amalgamate all ethnic groups and religious minorities. Paranoid with Indian threat not going to get us out of the mess.

We need to take charge, debate and find way out and solve unanswered questions before it’s too late.

Blaming is like ostrich syndrome and failed societies do that & they fail, die and disappear.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Facebook; Thanks for Egyptian Revolution, Who’s Next?

Facebook is synonymous with social interactions; never knew its potential of toppling despots. Last month Tunisia was falling out of blue, we thought it’s just a random event and may not have spill over effect. We never knew that Arab world was burning deep inside like volcano until we saw thousands of people on Egyptian streets.

One may wonder, tyrants like Mubarak controlled socio-political dynamics in the country for thirty years, how come leaderless crowd gathered on streets and eventually toppled a dictator! Answer is, the youth power & electronic social interaction platforms such as facebook and twitter. Today Egyptian society feels proud about its tech leaders such as Google Executive Mr Wael Ghonim and twitter guys such as @sandsmonkey etc.

The best part about Egyptian revolution, it was bloodless, not very violent as Mubarak & his policemen tried to make it after killing about 300 people. For 18 days ‘revolution in making’ was televised from Tahrir Square, we were glued to TV as if something was happening on the streets of Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad. Whenever someone thinks about Egyptian Revolution, one may not forget ugly scenes such as camel and horse brigades’ attack on peaceful protestors, worst of all, the stone throwing and firing around Tahrir Square!!!

To me Egyptian Revolution seems like a beginning that may eventually challenge despots across Arabian World be it Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi etc

It is the best moment in the history of any country when people chant “Now We Feel Proud to be Egyptian”, a country’s stature & image changed by youth power & facebook.

I wonder how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would be feeling after Egyptian Revolution.

Tomorrow is great Pakistani poet Faiz’s 100th birthday and Egyptian revolution reminds me of his poetry;

- Hum Dekhain Gay -We shall see
- Lazim Hai ke hum Bhi Dekhain Gay -It is necessary that we shall also see
- Woh Din ke Jis ka Wadah Hai -That day which has been promised
- Jo Loh-e-Azl pe Likha hai -Which is written with God's ink
- Hum Dekhain Gay - We shall see

Finally Pharaoh let his people to go…thank you Moses!!! Many more Pharaoh’s are around, many more Moses needed!!!!