By Syed Areeb Uddin
"This country has gone to dogs and I mean it!", exclaimed my uncle Muhammad Tariq Haq, an energy expert while having a cup of cold coffee at my place in the newly arrived summer afternoons of Karachi and the conversation came to the point that too much of power failure will have to happen in the mid-summers as its just a bit less than unbearable when the weather is still cold. While discussing the alternates, non came up with anything other than generator and as oil prices are too much off to the sky, making generators compliable to gas as its fuel sounded to be the only way out! But with sigh it was said that the country can't handle gas related stuff any more as it is running out of fuel and can provide it to one at time either residential areas or industrial. It's a catch 22 situation now!
As my uncle is seen as a leading figure of the specific domain of oil and gas I thought to talk and investigate about how we reached up to such a ship wrecked stage and if still there exists a hope!
To the first part of my question he began up with quoting a news paper head line back of '70 which said that the available gas of Pakistan will end up exactly after 40 years from now. This makes it apparent that we haven’t gotten into this situation in a sudden rather it was already known but not giving it due attention lead to worsening of the condition and seems like a no way out now!, he continued speaking.
Today we see that the matter seems to be completely out of hands. The
minister appears before the media just to pose rhetoric and surprising questions demanding logic in the answers that which part people think gas should be provided to. Previously it was said that as Pakistan is not an oil producing nation so it has to suffer from the energy crisis and alternatives like compressed natural gas got introduced, which got so wide spread that the entire nation seems to be dependent upon it now whether it be fuel required for transport, cooking food or running electricity producing generators and much more. Apart from that the other main source of fuel – petrol is about to break its record in selling prices and is just $22 away from doing it. Note worthy it is that the record got made in the days of the global financial crisis!
Though it was foreseen that this alternate will also end up very soon still no measures or thought processes were conducted about how to either preserve or create new or even look for more alternates! So what’s urgently demanded is to get onto tables and look for conclusions rather than giving a mockery to the already deprived and broke nation that there’s no hope or else it would be too better to say it once and for all that we are progressing towards the Stone Age – which is widely known and firmly believed as also said by uncle.
Coming to the other part of what could be done now – he started with giving two parts to the question. One that has to do with me and other that’s to be done by the responsible. “Very equally we all put a hand in every affair of the home, so every one is required to play a role on whatever level he/she can” and to this point of his I reminded him of my writing that got published exactly one year from now in Dawn’s in paper magazine Sunday 13.2.11 with the topic” Fossil fuels: coal play”.(ref:http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/13/fossil-fuels-coal-play.html)
In that I mentioned about my visit to Tharparkar and the coal sites discovered there. But with it again the problem which lies is that no due attention is given to such attempts and concerns of the citizens. We at first got no forum to rise over voice over such major issues and if hardly one finds some thing – it goes in vain too!
Still he was of the view that at least something is better than doing nothing and might be a collective effort brings about any fruitful result.
For how fascinating and mind blowing the amenities to produce energy are one must refer to searching it over the internet and realize that it can make us think from one extreme of surviving to the other extreme of leading the world in the field of energy!
Mentioning a few of the astounding figures which were there in the above referred article also that Sindh alone has got 184.623 billion of coal reserves and an approximate figure states that it is worth of 25 trillion dollars – enough said that would be when it will be realized that it’s just not it, Pakistan is so blessed that it has hundreds of such sites more! Pakistan has huge lignite coal reserves, and it is critically important to include these in the energy mix of Pakistan. Taking cumulative savings into account, due to devaluation of the Pakistani currency and fluctuation in oil prices, fuel replacement from oil to coal could save Pakistan $87billion from just one block of the Thar Coal fields alone till 2070. Considering the savings, the trade-off between environment and economy seems to be a viable option.
If all the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and are Iran put together these are Approximately 375 Billion Barrels, but a single Thar Coal Reserve Of Sindh is about 850 Trillion Cubic Feet, which is more than oil reserves Of Saudia & Iran.
It requires just initial 420 Billion rupees initial investment, whereas Pakistan receives annually 1220 Billion from Tax Only.
Like Balochistan, areas of Marri and Magsi tribes are extremely rich in gas but no matter what serious issues lie that those areas can’t be worked on. Everything can be spared in such a crisis situation, it will be worst and annoying to know if it’s the ego of the politicians or political differences and disputes that make these extra ordinary
energy unavailable for the nation and such splendid potentials not brought into use.
More over, none of the areas of the country are deprived or anything or could be said that they can give nothing or can’t contribute. All areas are rich in one or the other form of energy. The only request from the ones who can do anything about it is to
realize that how much important it is to worry about the issue, how necessary it is to finally start discovering, finding the alternates to energy and working over them.
Uncle ended the discussion quoting the Quran that God never changes the state of a nation until the nation is itself willing for that. But here, he said the condition is entirely different. We don't even have to question God to give us anything at all; HE has already blessed this place with so much. Even if we raise our hands to ask HIM for anything other than saying us a good luck HE will reply with nothing else except curse. As it is just upon us now to pick the tool and armor and make the first strike with a firm intention of not making a halt till we reach to the goal. This will power is only what lacks else everything is there; God has already done HIS job!
Syed Areeb Uddin is enrolled in Bachelors programme in Dental Surgery at the Zia Uddin University – Karachi. He takes keen interest in national and international politics. He has written about many domestic critical issues and social problems suggesting possible and simple solutions. Areeb's writings are frequently published in the Dawn, Daily times, The News and many other news papers including many youth magazines.
In lieu of his trilingual's he can speak Sindhi, Urdu and English. Areeb is engaged in translating books from Sindhi to English dialect specifically of a late author who wrote more than 400 books and is a renowned Islamic scholar and spiritual guide Makhdoom Muhammad Hashim Thattvi. He is also the 5th descendant of the great Saint and likes reading and writing over religious lessons and relates them with current situations and finely explains about how things could be made better by learning from those lessons!
Areeb is also fond of writing short poetry especially in Sindhi – He believes them to be inherited skills as descending from a mystic Sindhi poet and writer Allah Baksh Sarshar Uqaili.
He is a firm believer that silence is the biggest mistake and the nation is being punished for this mistake – thus his pen always rises to represent the oppressed! Nevertheless he has been extremely active in public speaking, community service and social welfare through various channels.