East and west


Movement on both fronts

Some developments in foreign affairs. First, the meeting between the US and Pakistani heads of government, followed by the first ever meeting of the senior military leadership of the militaries of the two countries after the Salala incident.

Second, the meeting of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart at the same Seoul nuclear summit.

Positive developments, both of them.

With the Indians, there is the possibility of a CBM made in heaven. The prospect of their selling us 5000 MW of power on a daily basis would be enough to melt the heart of even the most rabid of the Indophobes. Yes, there would be much wallowing on their part; look at what we have been reduced to! And there would – most counter-intuitively – be much smugness from the ruling coalition as well; the late BB, after having worked in the IPPs in the country, had left the country in a position to export power to the Indian Punjab, a prospect that was negotiated well into the Nawaz Sharif government. We had done our job, will be their spiel, and the subsequent PML(N) and Musharraf governments have left a mess for us to clean. In fact, by selling the Indian agreement as a proof of the good relations they have cultured with them, the ruling party might even campaign on it.

The Indian government is to look into its own power situation and get back to us. As things stand, the Indian power deficit is said to be much larger than our own. The export of power from Indian Punjab would only take place if there is no way they can effectively transfer it to the grid of another State Electricity Board.

On the America front, there was some minor headway, which, given the current impasse, is encouraging. They asked, predictably, for the resumption of the supply routes. We asked for ending the drone attacks and replacing them with our own air force taking out possible targets. To which they proposed a narrowing down of drone attacks, rather than a complete shutdown of the programme, which, despite its fallout, has seen its share of high-profile successes.