MULTAN - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday said the country had witnessed uplift as new roads were going to connect all areas of the entire country with one another from Khanjrab to Gawadar while power generation projects would rid Pakistan of loadshedding next year.

Addressing the participants of Multan Metro Bus inauguration ceremony at Jinnah Auditorium of Bahauddin Zakariya University, the PM lashed out at the PTI and said that those who did not know the meaning of development wanted to block its way. “They stage sit-ins and then give irresponsible statements on TV channels. Soon the misdeeds of “Dharna walas” will be exposed,” he noted.

He said some people claimed they would create a new Pakistan. “Where is their new Pakistan? Come to Multan and see this is a new Pakistan,” he added. He announced the metro bus systems would be set up at all divisional headquarters in the Punjab, including Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan and Gujranwala.

The PM further revealed the National Health Insurance Scheme would soon be introduced in Multan and then its gamut would be spread to the entire province gradually. He said the healthcare facility was very costly and the poor had to sell out their homes for getting this facility. “The government will bear the expenses of their medical treatment,” he said and added 200 million people would get this facility,” he added.

The PM said 10,000 megawatts electricity would be added to the national grid this year as work on power generation projects was underway speedily. “It’s outcome of our three-year hard work. In 2013, it appeared there is 24-hour loadshedding. But today it has come down considerably and next year there will be zero loadshedding,” he added.

The PM stated Shehbaz Sharif daily checked progress of power generation plants while a ship loaded with coal had docked at the Karachi port, which would soon be shipped to Sahiwal plant by rail carriages.

He revealed land worth Rs 110 billion had been purchased for Bhasha Dam which would produce 4,000 megawatts electricity besides providing water storage bigger than Mangla and Tarbela dams. He hoped the project would give a boost to agriculture in the country. He said the government seriously wanted to bring electricity prices down to offer relief to the poor.

The PM declared work on the next phase of Islamabad-Lahore Motorway, the six-lane Lahore-Multan phase which had been stopped in 1999, was underway. He added another Multan-Faisalabad motorway would also reach Khanewal soon while six-lane Multan-Sukkur motorway was under construction and the contract for Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway would also be awarded within next few months. He claimed roads were being constructed in Balochistana and Gawadar Port while economic zones were being developed and power plants installed in the province to bring it on a par with other parts of the country. He said the expressways and motorways would connect the entire country from Khanjrab to Gawadar with one another.”

The PM said he had not come here to do politics, block the way of development, waste masses’ time and mislead the public, but he had come to give a beautiful gift of metro bus to the residents of this town. He declared work on the remaining part of the metro would also begin soon. “It’s good if it is done within the current tenure of the government, but if it is not done now, it will be done in the next tenure,” he asserted. He said the MNAs of PTI elected from Multan should have been invited to this function to show them the real development.

He said someone had proposed the fare of Multan Metro bus should be higher than that of Lahore and Rawalpindi, but he rejected the proposal and directed the authorities to fix the fare at Rs 20. He claimed the metro had turned Multan into a beautiful blend of latest and historical city. He declared more projects would be launched to further beautify the city as it was the centre of South Punjab.

Responding to the slogan “I love Nawaz Sharif”, raised by a PML-N supporter many times, the PM said he too loved the workers. “Keep loving me like this, it gives me courage to move forward,” he added.

Speaking on this occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif lashed out at the quarters demanding the accountability of the government. He said, “It is my request to the highest court that if they give any verdict, they may ensure to bring those 50 to 100 people to the dock too, who are involved in looting the national wealth. This will turn the country into Pakistan of Quaid and Iqbal.”

He said on one side there was no corruption while on the other there were $60 million in Swiss banks, court decisions on Nandipur and NICL cases, Ogra and rental power scandals and waivers of loans worth billions of rupees. “How can they talk about accountability in such a loud voice?” he said. He added the government has saved Rs 112 billion in gas projects and there was no corruption in metro projects while higher courts had given decisions in corruption cases against those in the opposition. “They bought shares in the name of their servants, committed corruption worth trillions of rupees and looted national exchequer with both hands,” he alleged.

He said the Multan Metro was superior in quality to Rawalpindi and Lahore projects. “Why do they criticise us if the Punjab spends its own funds on its own projects?” he questioned. He revealed China had approved funds for Quetta and Karachi train projects. He averred he would try to get the second phase of Multan Metro accomplished in one year.