BAHAWALPUR - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday termed agitation uncalled for at a time when the country was on the path of progress, and invited those who had given a call for protest to dialogue.
Addressing a jam-packed gathering here at Islamia University Bahawalpur after performing the ground-breaking ceremony of the country’s first solar park project, the prime minister said there was no justification for protests, particularly at a time when the country had embarked on a path of progress and development.
“What is the need of protest now? Are they against the progress of Pakistan? Are they against the development projects in Pakistan? Are they against measures to end corruption, against the declining rate of dollar and end to loadshedding?” he asked the gathering.
The prime minister invited those who planned protest rallies to the PM House for dialogue and resolve issues amicably. “Come to the Prime Minister House, talk to me, have a cup of tea or coffee with me and discuss your issues,” he said in an apparent reference to the PTI leader and recalled “I too visited you.” He also dismissed the allegations of rigging in the general elections. “This is not the way. You have been playing all through your life. Exhibit the same sportsman spirit now,” the prime minister told Imran.
The prime minister said the PML-N government would overcome the energy crisis before the end of its tenure. “Our policies have the vision of 25 years. Pakistan and China will develop the Economic Corridor which will bring revolutionary changes in the country. Both the countries have signed an MOU on this issue. Gawadar will be a free port which will replace the ports of Singapore and Dubai. Motorway from Lahore to Karachi will be constructed with Rs 33 billion dollars. Railway line will be laid from Khujrab to Gawader under the Economic Corridor,” he said.
“Pakistan is facing a serious energy crisis which has left a negative impact on the economy as well as on every aspect of life. Survival of the country depends upon energy. The government is implementing a comprehensive economic agenda and measures are being taken on emergency basis to minimise the gap between supply and demand of electricity. Short, medium and long-term plans have been made for energy generation as overcoming the energy crisis is our top priority,” Nawaz said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif performed the ground-breaking ceremony of Quaid-e- Azam Solar Park. 1,000MW electricity will be generated in the first phase of the solar energy park spreading over an area of 11,000 acres of land while the supply of 100MW will be started till the end of this year with the cost of Rs 15 billion; 300MW will be generated in December 2015 and 600MW will be added to the national grid in December 2016.
He said the people of Pakistan had sacrificed a lot and it was time that the country should be allowed to move forward. He said the government was working on projects to build motorways and power plants while cutting down expenses and there was no justification for agitation.
The project will be completed by the Chinese company TBEA and produce electricity at per unit cost of Rs 15. The Bank of Punjab is providing 75 percent funds for the project, while the remaining 25 percent will be provided by the Punjab government.
The prime minister said his government would accomplish the task of meeting the country’s energy needs much before the end of tenure of his government’s tenure.
He said the solar power project in Bahawalpur would be operational in a few months. He said the project reflected love of the PML-N government for its people and commitment towards their future. The prime minister appreciated the performance of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his team for their dedicated work and timely completion of various development projects.
The prime minister also noted his love for the people of Bhawalpur and reiterated his government’s resolve to bring about a change in their lives to make it a modern model district.
He recalled the recent power project would produce 660MW electricity while another project at Jamshoro would produce 1,320MW and several others at Rahim Yar Khan, Sahiwal, Jhang and Muzaffargarh would produce 2,640MW in the Punjab alone.
He said Pakistan had generation capacity of 23,000 MW and in next eight years another 21,000MW would be added to the national grid. Currently, Pakistan was only producing 13,000MW, he said.
The prime minister appreciated the remarks offered by the Chinese ambassador who reiterated resolve of his government to help Pakistan in all areas.
He also appreciated the inspector general of Police Punjab for providing safety to the Chinese project engineers and workers.
The mega event was attended by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, Minister for Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Minister for Food Security Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Rana Sanaullah, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong, M/s TEBA Ltd President Zhang Jianxin and Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Project Chairman Arif Saeed.
The Punjab chief minister, speaking on this occasion, said the ground-breaking of the country’s first solar power plant had shown the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who realised that this precious resource of sunlight be tapped for progress.
Shahbaz Sharif also lauded the US$ 32 billion support by China for helping Pakistan in various projects.
He expressed the hope that the first module of 10MW of the solar park would be operational before the advent of the holy month of Ramazan to facilitate the faithful in the performance of their religious obligations.
The chief minister lashed out at those who were trying to launch a campaign against the government and said they did not appreciate the development projects launched across the country.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong, in his brief remarks, said his country remained committed to helping Pakistan in its development and meeting the energy shortage. He received a big applause as he said in Urdu “Pakistan aur China hamesha ke dost hain.”