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Pakistan’s Business Minded President Secures Energy Deals

August 26, 2009

Former leaders from Ayub Khan, Benazir Bhutto, and General Musharraf tried to address the issue of growing energy consumption and diminishing supplies which is now legitimately deemed a “crisis” in Pakistan. President Zardari had his hand in addressing the crisis last week during the quarterly visit to Beijing where he discussed China’s assistance on energy projects. The result is a signed Memorandum of Understanding between both states for the construction of the Bunji dam in the Astore district of Pakistan. Pakistani Ambassador to China, Masood Khan confirmed this dam is one of 8 slotted for priority construction and will have a capacity of generating 7,000 megawatts of electricity. Additionally, Presdient Zardari visited the ambitious Three Gorges Dam and met with Solar Power companies in China this year and enthusiastically invited them to carry out feasibility studies and expertise:

“We need solar power for individual housing units and I want the Chinese to carry out a study in Pakistan,”

As a result, Chinese owned Solar Energy Science and Technology Company expressed a readiness to construct solar power generation projects. Many dams and solar projects targeting the northern areas that are relatively underdeveloped and fairly detached from national infrastructure. But despite being underdeveloped, the region is prime location for generating hydro power and NGO’s have in the past introduced small, community based hydro power stations where usage is limited to basic lighting for residences and had little capacity to produce energy required for income generation. Last weeks deal with China on the other hand might be a more viable route to progress. A case study from India in 2001 demonstrates how an entrepreneur in Chitral installed a “one megawatt hydel power project that changed the socio-economic conditions of the area by providing electricity to run machinery for the manufacturing and processing of local goods. Locally-generated energy then created skilled job opportunities in the power supply system and in workshops for making electric appliances and fixing electric installations.

Applying such construction to the northern areas of Pakistan as per recent deals with China have the potential to spur similar growth. Localized hydel projects with Chinese expertise can bypass a need for  more macro transmission and distribution costs involved with creating larger infrastructure. Time and money are saved if large scale distribution channels to  transmit power are not needed. And because the energy produced would be confined to the area of consumption more expensive centralized power generation and large scale load issues may be avoided.

Plus, Hydropower is cost effective and solar power has fair potential in Pakistan because of the warm climate. 
And with Chinese companies already having begun work on various hydel projects, including the Neelum Jhelum, Gomal Zam and Mangla Rising constructions, President Zardari said he was:

“personally monitoring all ongoing projects being carried out by Chinese engineers and experts in Pakistan, adding that he was holding regular meetings with Chinese ambassador in Islamabad”

So colorful history aside, President Zardari is one of the few, if not first true businessmen turned leaders of Pakistan and it will be great to see the success of his recent bilateral negotiations with China translate to a lasting alleviation of the energy crisis.

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29 comments

  1. Why not try to help develop a local industry?

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  2. the idea is more localized hydropower in underdeveloped, detached areas like north will spur local economies by way of supplying energy to run machinery and subsequent income generation…..like the Chittral model mentioned above

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    • i think our country Pakistan have alarge sources and can produce the energy at 50 paisa per unit, then why he do it

      thanks

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    • hi hw r u. i agree with ur comments

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    • add me with us and send me your email addres

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  3. The Success depends on the continuation of the project without any intervention.

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  4. Zardi is doing all in the betterment of pakistan but people of pakistan are not happy to presient presdent needs to improve his image in the mind of nation through work like this. i think president is serious to resolve energy crises in pakistab asap that why he has hired the rental power plants and now he is moving towards solar and hydral power as wellas to thermal power

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  5. The most preferable is the coal, we can produce electricity by the coal of about 1 lakh mega watt for the period of the 500 year, what we need else, hydro power and solar power are also gud initiative too, but start working on the coal.
    only4u_22pk@yahoo.com

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    • Hello
      Faisal
      You have discussed i your comments on energy crisis.
      That, “The most preferable is the coal.” Your must know that it is not a cheap way to genrate electricity.
      Hydral system for energy genration is the cheapest way to produce energy.

      It is the only way compete the indistrial achivements in all over the world

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  6. i will agree with zainab.

    haroonsher2@yahoo.com

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  7. Actually I was specifically talking about the solar angle. Shouldn’t Pakistan be trying to encourage and nurture an indigenuous industry.

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  8. the only catch i understand with the solar angle is that it’s expensive. Hydropower is far more cost effective.

    Either way though it looks for certain that the Chinese are involved in assistance, so i’m not sure how likely an exclusively indigenous industry is currently…..

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  9. Solar energy is very expensive and at such stage our country does not afford such deal but there is no any observation regarding hydel & coal based power generation units, if the deal is fair.Before finalizing such deal, the feasiblity & negotiations should be published over media and action should be taken on the medium level technical personnels/public opinions.

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  10. GREAT ARTICLE .. I THINK ZARDARI HAS UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM ITS NOT LIKE THE NORMAL WAY OF THINKING. PPP THNK TANG GAVE ENERGY POLICY IN 1994 UNDER WHICH MANY IPP’S CAME. THE WISDOM BEHIND THAT POLICY WAS THAT THE IPP’S WILL ACTS AS UMBERALLA AND UNDER ITS SHADOW HYDRO GENERATION WILL BE ENHANCED AND AS YOU REMEMBR GAZI BROTHA PROJECT WAS DEVELOPED AND THAR COAL BOARD WAS FORMED .

    THAT POLICY WAS ADOPTED BY WORLD BANK AS MODEL FOR THE WORLD IN 21ST CENTURY AND YOU CAN CHECK THAT IN WORLD BANK WEBSITE .

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  11. President Zardari Zindabad. No doubt he is doing great job but many people in our country unfortunately not able to understand what is right and what is wrong. Keep it up Mr. President.

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  12. Nice article
    Well Mr. Zardari has no concern with economic issues of Pakistan he is just enjoying his position and the people of Pakistan bear all the things behind the foolish policies of govt (PPP) sorry to say that but it’s all TRUE

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  13. If one believes on Zardari’s noble intention of bringing energy projects to Pakistan, what in your view establishment think of him? For how long establishment would allow him to continue as a main decision maker and not disrupt the democratic course?. Initially if you see democracy has never been allowed to flourish in Pakistan due to myopic views.

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    • thanks for the comments.

      @ Faisal: see my article titled “musharraf in Hindsight”. there are responses to criticisms on the idea that democracy has never been allowed to flourish under martial law.

      Overall, i would agree, that martial law has by in large stifled democracy in Pakistan. But there are rare instances when given certain security situations, and a foresighted leader committed to viable progress is present…..can actually encourage democracy…albeit as a military man.

      check out: https://zainyjee.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/musharraf-in-hindsight/

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  14. yes i fully agree with ur writing that first ever true businessman turned politician bacame president of pakistan and he can/will do a lot as his own prestege is on stake. his personality is under negative discussion always. i do sincerely hope he will definately do something big to which will benefit the public. goodluck mr. president n i m praying for yur success eventually be benefitted for all pakistanis. regds

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  15. well. thanks

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  16. In new deals there is huge profit for the dealer. In projects started on self finance basis haven’t huge margin to be looted. So in deals half money will go in the account of Zardari and half will be spent on project. After the disolve of govt remaining amount will be sent to Prime Minister Gilani

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    • negative thinking is a chronic disease and unfortunately you are suffering from that. Mr. Imran Khan i don’t know from where you are but keep this thing in your mind it was Mr. Asif Ali Zardari who brought optical fiber in Pakistan in second tenure of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and that led the foundation of internet services in Pakistan. Similarly now he is working on Energy sector. So don’t get panic keep your allegations with you and wait and see.

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  17. In early eighties working for Industrial Dev Bank I tried to to promote the ideas of Solar Energy and small local hydro power plants in remote areas. Solar energy program was shot down by the World Bank on the grounds of its cost compared to fossil fuels. Had this been done on the national level in the early 80’s the entire scenario of the solar power energy would have been different today. The other program continued in the private sector putting even small basic turbines( crude Pelton Wheel) on small springs in Gulmit and other places in Gilgit/Hunza areas with some assistance from China on private basis. A Professor from Engg: University Peshawar was active in developing the simple equipment locally. The major drawback was the governor to control voltage and frequency because of local fluctuating power load conditions. The cost of a governor was too high for a small community to afford. I suggested using computer-aided-switching resistance-loads to keep the load constant and thus tide over the problem. I am not aware what happened to it in later years when the focus was shifted entirely to mega projects.

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    • wow. very interesting. Thanks for sharing firsthand information.

      The costs of solar generated power are still high, especially when compared to hydropower. Perhaps in the next decade as the international policymakers realize that like fossil fuels, hydropower relies on a finite resource….solar power will become more accessible as more businesses enter into developing that space which can drive costs down.

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      • Yes, Hydro may have some limiting factors but till we reach those there is one hell of potential. Let us at least try to reach it and not be content to with make shift arrangements like RENTAL Power which is expensive as well heavy on Foreign Exchange cost. The solution in solar power lies in local development of low-price solar cells and durable and cost effective energy storage equipment i.e. batteries. Same goes for wind power for homes. Moreover given the sunny climate endowment of the region we could go for solar water heaters which in our conditions are capable of supplying hot water to all the apartments in a six storied on the basis of roof area. This would save lot of fuel in our colder areas. Chinese help can also be sought in local development of solar cookers to decrees pressure on natural gas as well as give some breathing time to the ladies in evenings at least in the rural sector.

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  18. Some time it happens that some one who’s repo is not so good prove himself of great assett to the nation. Same could be happened in President Zardari case. His vision is good & also has patience.

    I hope that he will succeed to cater the current enrgy crisis.

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  19. Zardari a Businessman?? He didn’t even had master in any degree. He can’t write simple English properly lol

    No one knows from which University in London he go this so called Masters in Business Administration. Kinda awkward to see the President’s info unknown.

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    • such a foolish argument by Mr. Umer Sultan. In Pakistan you will find plenty of students who passed M.A or B.A by studying only couple of nights before their exams. and they are nothing and on the other side i know many people including my grand father who only did matric but before partition and he is 100 times better than those young guys who completed ther M.A or B.A right now. means your point is absolutely ridiculous.there were and there are many great leaders in this World that are nor formly educated and they have shown that they can run the system. moreover president zardari gor education from reputable schools in Pakistan like cadet college pataro and saint Patrick School. university degree in a a necessary tool for doing politics. you are using internet and you must be aware of the dact that it was Mr. Zardari who brought optical fibre in Pakistan which led foundation of internet in Pakistan, in second tenure of Mohtarma benazir bhutto when Mr. Zardari was minister. so be optimistic. Don’t bring foolish arguments.

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  20. In reply to Mr. Umer Suleman I have to say that there is no need for a experienced person like President Zaradri to have such degrees. degrees mean that you can start your career withou having any knowledge about the surounding.

    I think that President Zardari is a democratically elected President of Pakistan having full potentials to cater all the issues which are facing the nation. Although I am not the supporter of PPP but I understand that Mr. Bhutto was a good leader and Bhuttoism is the only solution for the poor people of Pakistan.

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