A reply on Marvi Memon’s open letter to PM Gillani on Kala Bagh Dam- by Ahmad Nadeem Gehla

Following is a reply on Marvi Memon’s open letter to PM Gillani on Kala Bagh Dam which we’d posted on LUBP earlier. You can see that post on the given link ‘Open Letter to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Kala Bagh Dam- by Marvi Memon

Dear Madam MNA,

When we want to believe that this is an extreme of manipulating issues, misguiding and confusing masses, there comes someone to give us a surprise. Your open letter to Prime Minister regarding Kala Bagh Dam is an excellent example of initiating another meaningless debate while pushing real issue under the carpet. This is not going to serve any purposes except confusing people and widen the existing differences between provinces. This effort will lead honourable parliamentarians from various provinces to be pitched against each other debating something which does not matter for this miserable nation.

The hypocrisy of ‘left-overs’ of dictatorships is an example of its own kind. According to distorted figures of previous government, economy was growing at rate of 8-10% a year. This is no more a secret that whatever real growth rate might, that mainly happened in consumer sector. Any government with a vision of a rabbit would have figured out that growth in consumption will lead to shortage of power. Despite your party’s slogans to elect the dictator in uniform for ten times, never a single word about a comprehensive power plan.

That tunnel vision leads this miserable nation in to Stone Age and darkness. With that growth in consumption, should not previous government have added at least 2,000/3,000 MW annually in to power system? Presently, there is shortage of about 7,000/8,000 MW. Thermal power being generated on imported fuel is draining resources and making power expensive for industry and common household. How many damns were build during dictatorship, actively supported by your good self and your party? The most unfortunate aspect of this manipulated economic circus was purchase of oil on deferred payments and leaving the debts for new government.

That was not the last crime of your government, the sword of non-payment to power companies and circular debt still hangs on head of newly elected government. In order to assure the bankers profits, your government got foreign debts rescheduled for short terms on higher interest rates. Banker and so called stock investors made hefty profits by investing in to stocks and consumer finance, which lead to inflation and devaluation of rupee. These repayments, delayed during previous government are draining a major share of GDP and government is forced to borrow from IMF to make repayments. Good things that you speak up about an’ Energy Plan’ after 13 long years but still silent over issue of resources needed for such plan.

Apart from the technical details about KBD, three provincial governments have passed resolution against the project. The issue has since been dead unless provinces reach an agreement. Why to start a new debate and waste the time of parliament and nation on a meaningless discussion? Please allow me to ask you something more relevant. Even if, the provinces reach an agreement on KBD and give it a nod, what would be the mode of financing and repayments of $ 6 Billion estimated costs? Does government has enough resources to finance KBD project on it’s own or get financing from international lenders. Has your good self ever bothered to ask Foreign Diplomats about reservations of investors from their respective countries – your might find your performance on TV talk shows as a part of problem.

Dear Madam,

Opposition parties are playing a dangerous game with this miserable nation by spreading confusion and widening divides. There is no doubt that potential for hydro-power has criminally been ignored by previous government. There are several other sites identified for building dams, surely, we must go for these and leave KBD issue alone, which is a controversial project. Work on these sites where feasibility studies has been carried can be started in short span of time. But won’t we need funding to start these projects?

We are also blessed with huge coal reserves, solar and wind sources and can exploit that potential. However, building dams will not only give us cheapest power with lowest capital investment but also help in conserving water which our agriculture needs desperately. All these projects need huge investments while present government is getting financial assistance from IMF to repay the previous debts and cover fiscal deficit. Opposition parties and so-called ‘political actors’ both, prefer a silence over the source of funding to start these projects. Although that is the most relevant and core issue, a bright Parliamentarian like you is expected to discuss about some plans to secure FDI.

Dear Madam,

Please, allow me to discuss your party’s role in effectively killing any possible source of investment in this country, desperately need in order to start new power projects. I can  recall your performance on various TV shows, while campaigning against Kerry-Luger legislation to the ‘imaginary corruption’ in rental power projects. You were also very vocal against investment in PIA, which has helped the company to get out of operating losses. While opposition is supposed to criticise government,   that does not have to be on cost of national interests to secure some quick points.

You are very well aware that the government does not posses the resources to go ahead with these projects on its own and needs foreign investment desperately. Allow me to ask your good self to name any foreign investor which is willing to invest in power sector because of the havoc opposition creates in media. The investor is such a sensitive bird, which flees away sensing the slightest chance of instability. Who on earth will pump billion of dollars in a country where so called ‘political actors’ will turn the legitimate investor in to a devil’?

In present economic situation, FDI is the only option left for government which can help in creation of jobs, built infrastructure and power projects. Would you like to invest your money in a country where you are certain of a media trial by ‘political actors’ and ending up before a court of law for ‘supposed corruption’ rather than earning some profits? Opposition parties, the Judiciary and establishment, all have to be supportive of government in order to bring FDI and restore investor confidence in a country where a suicide bomber blow himself up every other day.

What we are witnessing is exactly opposite. An honourable Senator and top office bearer of your own party has earned the repute of a ‘Bangali BaBa’ for giving the repeated failed dates for fall of elected government and military or judicial take over.  President of the country is under constant media trial and there is a never ending noise from opposition parties for a military or judicial take over. Pick up any mainstream news paper and one is forced to believe that elected government would be ousted before evening. Is this the way to convince investors to bring their billion dollars and invest in your country?

Although sad but a bitter truth is that, opposition parties and some power players want to create controversies rather than playing any positive role. For a cover up of their designs, they should start debating over juicy non issues, like the one initiated by your good self. You won’t utter a single word as to how government should arrange funds. Does it need an Einstein to understand, what stops your good self from talking about investor confidence and FDI? Corruption does exist at certain levels in third world countries but that is not which makes Foreign Investors scared. This is instability of government and fear of discontinuation of policies which keeps investors away.

Please, do take an honest moment and ask your good self about your and your party’s contribution in harassing and chasing away any potential investor.

Dear Madam,

You are right in asking government to come up with a comprehensive Energy and Water Conservation Plan. The funds are not going to fall from skies, we need to stop chasing and harassing investors and take them in to confidence. Why does not you party takes that initiative to host an investors conference. It should initiate this debate in parliament. An ‘all parties Parliamentarians group’ should inviting the investors from all over the world.

In such a conference top opposition Parliamentarians, Honourable Judges of Superior Courts and leading Media Houses should assure the investors of their full support and cooperation. I assure you that Pakistan offers some of the best investment opportunities for foreign funds and they would be more than pleased to pick these opportunities. Your little cooperation with government on national interests can result in beginning several projects including coal development, dams’ construction, infrastructure development and job creation.

If your good self doesn’t not has  knowledge of investors sentiment and fears about investing in Pakistan, then I would respectfully suggest you to have an orientation visit of Parliamentarians to some investment houses. You might be surprised to find that biggest hurdle is the havoc created by ‘power players’ and ‘political actors’ Can expect and end to this practice, more ‘open letters’ from you, Opposition Parties, Judiciary, Media Houses and Parliamentarians offering Prime Minister their support and cooperation in restoring investors confidence? We can only go ahead with infrastructure development in case there is the foreign investor. That will only happen if, we can start talk about real issue and that is ‘investor’s confidence’.

I sincerely hope that your good self would be the first to initiate the debate in Parliament about ‘A Comprehensive FDI Policy’ and how to counter the elements discouraging foreign investment. I also hope that you would be suggesting measure to bring these ‘political actors’ under control which start making a devil out of every potential investor and do their media trial by singing ‘corruption’ mantra. Certainly in future, your good self and ‘Bangali Baba’ fame Senator of your party won’t be on ‘investors chasing’ spree’ on every TV talk show’, giving the dates of military take over and delivering sermons on ‘imaginary corruption’. Surely, you do care about Pakistan.

Best Regards,

Ahmad Nadeem Gehla

Author, Team LUBP



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