Cruel winters

Published: January 8, 2012

Even though people are ecstatic to receive snowfall, the acute gas shortage has brought hardship to many. PHOTO: ONLINE

Large swathes of the country are currently in the grip of a cold snap. The federal capital is said to have received snowfall over the weekend, with the Margalla Hills getting the most snow in two decades, according to the meteorological department. As expected, this has made many of the area’s residents quite excited because it’s not often that they get to see snow in their midst.

Further north, in Murree, the Galiyat region and northwest into Swat and beyond, there has been snowfall for the past few days and much of the region has been blanketed with several inches of snow. This makes for a good weather-related story and one supposes that this is perhaps one of the few feel-good stories that the media can pick up and disseminate.

However, if one were to scratch the surface of this ‘story’, one will find that it is in fact not all that good for the millions of people who live in the cold-affected region. As a friend who lives in Islamabad pointed out, this winter may be the coldest in years, it has translated into much misery for local residents thanks to the acute gas crisis. The reason, she explained,is that a majority of the people in the urban centres use gas heaters for keeping warm and the shortage of gas has meant that their homes are much colder than usual. This has meant bundling up and wearing several layers of clothing inside the home as well. Usually, till now, the misery related to energy shortages would be confined to the summer months, with their excessive amounts of load shedding of electricity, but the manner in which the precious resource of natural gas has been used by all of us for these past many years has meant that even the winters are going to be a time of hardship for many.

I would leave it to the experts to figure out what went wrong and why we are faced with such a problem today, but at the very least the government is expected to find a lasting solution so that the next winter is not as cruel as this one.


Annum Sadiq

A sub-editor for the Opinion desk of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.