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Pakistan Today

Published Date: Jan 3, 2012

STATE POLICIES PUSHED PAKISTAN INTO CRISES

Experts on Monday said inequality, energy crisis and poor governance threatened stability and security of the country, while social justice and pro-poor governance were must for a peaceful and prosperous future.
Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) Chairman Imtiaz Gul, Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS Ali Khizar Aslam, Head of Research Business Recorder Arshad H Abbasi and Senior Research Associate SDPI Arif Naveed spoke at the seminar on “Deepening crisis of energy, economy and stability: where do the poor stand?”, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.
Imtiaz Gul said poor economy and insecurity had pushed the nation into a social and governance paralysis.
“Over emphasis of ruling elite on traditional concept of security particularly Afghan jihad had created a serious crisis of human security in the country.”
Ali Khizar Aslam said Pakistan was currently on the verge of fiscal crisis. He recommended reduction on CNG reliance, enhancement in the usage of alternate energy sources and revision of oil exploration policy. He said energy crisis was a broad-based issue and all the stakeholders, including public, were responsible for it due to energy-inefficient habits. He said lack of harmony in the policies was a central issue to country’s governance since long. He said despite reduced availability, gas consumption was massively promoted in the recent years.
He said printing of more currency would further create high inflation which has been over 15 percent in recent past but is now around 9 percent. He said gas reserves are rapidly depleting and hydro consumption has decreased from 38 percent to 33 percent while oil consumption has increased from 18 to 40 percent.
Arshad H Abbasi said energy crisis had become not only a social crisis but an institutional failure and a challenge to the stability of country. He said transparency and merit, shifting of focus from power sector to renewable sources, completion of under construction hydel projects on fast track basis, and promotion of biogas sources are some of the solutions to country’s current problems.
He said the government in 1994 introduced a policy which diverted focus from hydel to fuel and gas sources. He said gas demand is currently 4.5 billion MMCFD as against the supply of 3.5 billion MMCFD per day. He said we have to shift our focus from burning fossil oil to renewable energy sources.
Arif Naveed stated that the inequality of poverty and wellbeing had emerged as serious challenges for Pakistan. He highlighted poverty in the country was differentially distributed along the ethnic lines, while the overall poverty in Pakistan was 33 percent, but 52 percent in Balochistan and only 19 percent in Punjab.
He elaborated these ethnic differences in poverty were not only evident at the provincial level but also become clearer when the analysis is extended to the district level as strong intra-provincial disparities emerge along ethnic lines. “The incidence of poverty is very high in Saraiki speaking districts in southern Punjab and very low among Punjabi speaking districts. He said poverty in KPK is very high in the highland Pakhtun districts and very low in the Hazara region.”
He said the country should learn from its history particularly separation of Bangladesh and take corrective measures to deal with the ongoing violent struggle in Balochistan and high deprivation elsewhere. ‘Higher levels of deprivation, along ethnic identities have a great potential to cause social unrest, political instability and economic downfall and the state should ensure social justice as its fundamental responsibility’ he went on saying.