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July 08,2017

Ready for contest whenever you ask: Nawaz

Khalid Hurral & Moayyed Ali Jafri & Muhammad Saleh Zaafir

JHANG: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said his opponents know it well they cannot defeat the PML-N in elections, and that is why they are hatching conspiracies against it covertly.

“We are ready for a contest whenever you ask,” he challenged his political opponents, adding that “they lost elections against his party in the past and they will stand losers in future as well."

“Our opponents should face the PML-N in the field and we are ever ready to compete with them,” he added. He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the first unit of 1230-megawatt LNG power plant at Haveli Bahadur Shah in Jhang district on Friday. This unit will add 670-megawatt electricity to the national grid.

He said completion of the first unit of the project in 21 months was unbelievable. He said the government was working for providing electricity to people at affordable rates. Without naming any political party, the PM said, "Since you don't have the power to win elections, you just conspire, either in the garb of `dharnas' (sit-ins), allegations of rigging or in the name of accountability.

“Then you hide yourselves behind the JIT. It is cowardice. Instead, you should come and compete in politics," he said. "The nation knows about our positive work and contribution, and nation also knows well about what you have been doing for the last four years," the PM said in a frontal attack on his adversaries.

He pledged that his government would continue pursuing its agenda of development and the service of people. He referred to the situation of political 'uncertainty' and 'instability' and said it also hit the country's stock market over the past few days and affected the value of rupee against US dollar. He, however, added that as his government had a strong determination to move ahead and serve people, it would not be deterred through hue and cry being raised by our political opponents.

Nawaz challenged his political opponents to compete the PML-N in politics, advising them to desist from hatching conspiracies and indulging in such filthy practices. He reminded his opponents that the PML-N had been inflicting defeats on them again and again. As they know that they couldn’t succeed through contesting polls, they had been hatching conspiracies against the interests Pakistan, he added.

Nawaz Sharif announced performing ground-breaking of gigantic Dasu dam power project on July 10, the day when the joint investigation team (JIT) would submit its final report on Panama leaks to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The project would have the capacity of generating 4,500 megawatts of electricity.

The prime minister said the government was successfully heading for eliminating load-shedding from the country once and for all. He said that Diamer-Bhasha Dam was also in the preparation phase, and after completion, it would not only generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity but also serve as a huge water reservoir to irrigate the agricultural lands.

About Haveli Bahadur Shah power plant, the prime minister said a new trend had been created in the country where mega projects were being completed in shortest possible time. He said with dozens of power projects launched by the incumbent government, it had succeeded in adding 7,000-MW electricity to the national grid so far.

The PM said it was quite unusual that light was returning to the country and ending darkness, created due to criminal negligence of the past regimes, including that of a dictator.

Accountability should be across the board, he said. People should question and hold accountable those who plunged the country into darkness because of their dereliction over the past 10 to 15 years. “Shouldn't those guilty of this negligence be tried under the most strict parameters?” he questioned.

He said it was their promise and commitment to end darkness from the country, and "we have fulfilled this commitment to a large extent. We will InshaAllah completely eliminate load-shedding from the country", he said. He said, "Our political opponents are not happy over it, as Pakistan is growing and achieving the heights of development, darkness is ending, roads and motorways are being constructed."

Nawaz referred to various already completed and on-going projects including highways and motorways connecting Peshawar-Karachi, Gwadar-Khunjrab, Faisalabad-Multan, Multan-Sukkur, Sukkur-Hyderabad, Hyderabad-Karachi etc. He said these were revolutionary projects.

Similarly, he said tourism sector was getting boost in the country particularly in the hilly areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, KP and Azad Kashmir, where tourists were flocking, creating huge opportunities of income for the local populace. He said with the GDP growth crossing 5% during the previous fiscal year, the economy was improving and bringing in prosperity.

The PM mentioned saving of huge Rs168 billion in installation of three power projects including Haveli Bahadur Shah, Bhikki and Balloke and said the amount would be spent on other development projects.

The PM said power generation was being increased at a fast pace, which would boost industry, agriculture and trade. “Do you know about the JIT,” premier asked those in attendance. “You also probably know what it has been doing.” The country, he added, has been experiencing political uncertainty and the stock exchange is also reflecting it.”

In a thinly veiled jibe at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the premier said: “We want to let those know, who are becoming a hurdle in our path, that we will not be restrained and shall continue initiating development projects.”

The PM said Lawari Tunnel project was being completed at a cost of twenty-six billion rupees and the tunnel would also be inaugurated in the next few months. Similarly, Hazara-Motorway would be completed in KP. He said Thar coal power project in Sindh was also being supported by the federal government. He said Rs800 billion were being spent on up-gradation of Railway system in Pakistan.

The PM lauded the efforts of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Water and Power Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif for their extraordinary coordination and support in completion of the project.

Addressing the ceremony, Minister for Water and Power Kh Asif said Haveli Bahadur Shah, Bhikki and Balloke power plants would add 3600-MW power to the national grid. He said gap in power supply and demand in June 2013 was 67 per cent, which has now been reduced to 19 per cent.

Earlier, Project Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rashid Mehmood Langrial said in his welcome address the total production capacity of the power plant was 1230 megawatts, and it would be completed in the next year.

The local media and journalists were barred from the PM function. The district administration and the pubic relations department said some high-profile journalists had been invited, who accompanied the PM and the CM from Islamabad and Lahore, respectively to attend the function. However, video-link for footage and press release would be provided to all media houses for coverage of the PM function, an official said on the condition of anonymity.


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