Pakistan’s Thar region is a swath of desert in the country’s south long associated with poverty, drought, famine — and coal.
Now, with some help from China, it could soon power the country.
China has signed billions of dollars in agreements with Pakistan to help the country alleviate its chronic energy shortages, primarily by burning coal. New projects will involve mining billions of tons of the fossil fuel annually in the region — home to some of the world’s biggest coal deposits — and building five new coal-fired plants to help power Karachi, a metropolis of 20 million people about 300 miles away.
Yet critics say they could also fill the country’s air with noxious smog...