Make or Break for Prime Minister Imran Khan
May 12, 2020 06:32 PM
"We have a problem when the same people who make the law, get to decide whether or not they have broken it" - Michel Templet
Our motherland, Pakistan, despite having an enviable cultural mix, scenic views, diverse social flavours and to-die-for hospitable nerve could never cease to punch below its divine potential. The first thing that every child on their first day to school, hears is: "The country is in crisis".
As they grow up fighting this vulnerability and fear of not being "good enough", they inadvertently become part of the problem, in one way or another - a vicious cycle that never breaks.
Neither the system lends those young brains the confidence to be the first drop of rain of change, nor does the small bunch of powerful beneficiaries of the system ever extend them the logistical support to break the bad governance cliche'. How else would they survive otherwise?
However, PTI's 2011 jalsa was an interesting twist in the story, which convinced many Pakistanis to start viewing Imran Khan as a serious contender of the "infamous" status quo.
From then till date, it has clearly been a bumpy ride for cricketer-turned-politician. Many unwanted compromises had to be made to keep peddling.
The realization of the huge void between dreams and reality sank in big time, as soon as he stepped in the power corridors. "Easier said than done" was no longer a phrase, but the biggest reality check staring him in the eye, when those who were bending over backwards to please him before the election, transitioned back into who they really were - the "constant beneficiaries" of the system, the well harnessed "leeches" who had been as loyal to those in power, like the ones in power were to protect their financial interests.
So, where is the long-sought "tabdeeli" - that Pakistani Premier, Imran Khan yearned and strived for all these years? Will he buckle under pressure or prove his mettle as Prime Minister, like the good old World Cup days?
The inquiry commission report on Independent Power Producers, that recently revealed the thousands of billions that were made by a tiny bunch of powerful business tycoons, supersedes the detrimental impact of the much talked about artificial sugar & flour crisis.
In the early 1990s, Pakistan's total installed capacity was 10,800 MW. Keeping in view the expected robust economic growth and population rise, Benazir-led PPP Govt. launched new Power Policy in 1994, offering special incentives, to lure in Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to invest in Pakistan.
These incentives included long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), guaranteed fuel supply obligations and sovereign guarantees for buyers' payment obligations.
This policy paved the way for new players in the energy sector to install their plants over the years. As time passed by, regimes kept changing and so did the economic situation of Pakistan, transitioning from good to better to bad to worse to worst.
Having heard the tales of corruption and structural manipulation of the system by the IPP's, Prime Minister, Imran Khan ordered an inquiry on it.
Findings & Recommendations of IPP Commission Report
After months of relentless effort to dig down the lost pieces of the puzzle, the IPP inquiry commission report revealed that:
- The plant installation cost had been blatantly lied about. 80% of the cost was to be borne by the Government, whereas 20% by the investors themselves, but the majority of them misquoted the actual cost, multiplying it manifolds, where the Government ended up paying 150% and 200% in some cases
- The fuel consumption and return ratio was also fabricated by the IPP's to their advantage, where much lesser fuel was actually consumed as compared to the figure stated in the "Fuel consumption and return projection" shared back then
- The dollar-based return was ripping the economic fabric of the already dwindling economy of the country and hence, the inquiry commission suggested the dollar-based return to be shifted to Pakistani Rupee based return
- The inquiry commission suggested that more and more power producers should be encouraged and facilitated to jump in to break the existing cartel's monopoly, so that competition could bring the electricity prices down
- Pakistan's Capacity Payments due for 2021 stand at Rs. 900 Billion and if, as per, the inquiry commission's recommendation, IPP's switch from "Take or Pay" to "Take and Pay" model, it will not only subtract Rs. 270 Billion out of Rs. 900 Billion, but will also lessen the current and future impact of these contracts on the masses with a great margin
- The inquiry commission clearly suggests two ways out for the IPP's in the report, i-e; "Strike a negotiated settlement with the Government" or "get ready for the forensic audit for all" - the latter can be extremely lethal though
Make or Break for PM Imran Khan's Promise of "Accountability For All"
Our sources revealed that PM Imran Khan and his close aides are being pressurized to let it go, without taking the ones responsible for the whole mess to the task, as the key IPP's involved here are not only Mian Mansha, Saif-ur-Rehman and many renowned clothing brands but also the sitting Cabinet members, including Razzaq Dawood, Nadeem Babar, Khusro Bakhtyar, Prime Minister's old fellow, Jehangir Tareen and a few others.
The crease is ready. The weather is perfect. The stadium is jampacked with the enthusiastic audience holding popcorn packs, eyeing the batsman they voted for. It will either be a SIXER or "knock-out". Missing the ball outside the off-stump is not an option anymore. Let's see who carries the day - strong proponents of Kaptaan's "accountability promise" or his naysayers who said it was a farce!
Maleeha Hashmey is a socio-political analyst. She has previously worked with UNICEF & UNDP as Communications Consultant. She represents Pakistan on International Media.