The 7th session of Leaders at LUMS was received with unprecedented success. The guest speaker at the session was Mr. Shamsuddin Shaikh, the CEO of Engro Energy Ltd. Mr. Adeel Hashmi, a prominent media personality and moderator of the session, commenced the talk by asking Mr. Shaikh to elaborate on the Thar Coal Project. Providing insights about the project, Mr. Shaikh explained how out of the 186 billion tons of coal that exists in Pakistan, 175 billion is in Thar. The coal at Thar is lignite coal which is younger coal or brown coal. He furthered commented about the heating value of the coal in Thar, which he explained was the equivalent of putting together all the oil reserves in Saudi Arabia and Iran and converting them into heat.
He talked about the three major hindrances that Engro faced initially including the shortage of electricity, the high cost of electricity and the dependence on imported electricity. With 2012 being a critical year for the Thar Coal Project with serious setbacks, he elaborated on how hard work led the project towards success and that currently, every Pakistani industrial house is willing to invest in the project.
Shedding light over the importance of the Thar Coal Project, Mr. Shaikh explained that Engro Energy is working on block II with 2 billion tons of Thar coal. In this block, 1.5 billion tons of coal is exploitable that can produce 5000MW for 50 years, which can lighten up both Pakistan and India. Phase I of the project is 650 MW and Engro has completed 70% of work. By the end of the year, on December 31, Engro will start exporting power from Thar.
Responding to a question asked by Adeel Hashmi about character building, he argued that the Pakistani people have become accustomed to finding easy solutions instead of exploring the real path, which needs to be changed. He spoke highly of Pakistani universities and companies. Reliance on such institutions is the way back to a hopeful future. He furthered his point by explaining that good people and students need to come forward to take leadership and participate in politics. He talked about the importance of universities taking responsibility to produce leaders for the next generation.
With regards to CSR initiatives of Engro, Mr. Shaikh talked about countries committing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with the United Nations (UN) in regards to health and education, to be completed by 2030. He proudly explained how Engro has planned to complete these goals by 2024. He said that Engro has invested PKR 650 million to set up schools, it plans to start a hospital with 250 beds and he proudly shared that Engro is providing technical training to 3000 people out of which 71% belong to Thar.
The Vice Chancellor LUMS, Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, thanked Mr. Shaikh on behalf of LUMS and called the session mesmerising, and educational. The Vice Chancellor talked about what a privilege it was to have him at the platform. The session concluded with the presenting of a commemorative shield by Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi to Mr. Shaikh, who in return presented the Thar Book to the Vice Chancellor, which presents the beauty of Thar culture.