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by Lukas F. S treiff (‘ 0 6) + J ulia C ohen (‘ 10) Lukas F. Streiff is a Master of Public Policy Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, focusing on security and energy policy. In 2009, he spent two months in Pakistan as a Visiting Research Associate at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, conducting research on the geopolitics of energy in the region. Julia Cohen is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and majors in PPE (International Relations) and Hispanic Studies.

Pakistan’s Gas Crisis:

Pakistan’s economic woes lie at the center of the fight against jihadist radicalism.


S PRIN G 2 0 1 0

Pipe Dreams & Empty Pipes W hile the spotlight of global media

So many pipes, so little gas



Pakistan’s economic woes lie at the center of

with fundamentalist insurgency,

the fight against jihadist radicalism – a fact that

few observers in the West grasp the complex

the Obama administration is keenly aware of:

pattern of factors that underlies the country’s

the United States will pour $7.5 billion of non-

instability. The Taliban and other radicals in

military aid into Pakistan in the coming five

the rugged Afghan borderland are by far

years alone. Yet, some of the highest barriers

the most visible threat, but they are not the

to economic progress in Pakistan cannot be

source of Pakistan’s instability. Never have they

solved by money alone.



influenced the affairs of the Pakistani heartland

Take the electricity crisis: for decades,

– in fact, the relationship is the inverse. The

industry analysts have urged Pakistan to put a

Pakistani Taliban are an outgrowth of radical

sensible strategy for investments in electricity

Sunni networks in the political and economic

generation on track, but one government after

heartland of Pakistan: the Punjab, Pakistan’s

another has insisted on starting from scratch,

most prosperous and industrious province.

only to outdo its predecessor in corruption and

Radical groups in the prosperous

mind-boggling mismanagement. The result:

population centers have supported the Taliban

electricity is rationed all over Pakistan, often

in the border regions, and they have attracted

for over half of the day. “Load-shedding”, as

ever more supporters and funds. This country

the government terms the loathed practice,

of 160 million has failed the people’s hopes for

has caused hundreds of thousands of layoffs in

better governance and a prosperous future for

industry and countless violent demonstrations.

decades . There is no doubt that this subtle slide

With no end to the electricity crisis in sight,

into desperation goes a long way to explain the

Pakistan is now facing yet another serious

increasing instability of politics and society.

energy crisis: the state is unable to provide

International Business Review - Spring 2010  
International Business Review - Spring 2010  

The Spring 2010 edition of the IBR.