MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Friday the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government was strong and stable and the party would contest the 2018 polls with a strong portfolio on the basis of several completed development projects. Addressing a gathering here after inaugurating the $436 million 147MW Patrind Hydropower Project on the river Kunhar, he dismissed the speculations that the government would not complete its term.
“We are not political orphans and have no fear as we are here till June 15, 2018 and contest the next polls with a strong portfolio,” he said. “We do not believe in hollow slogans, as we have done work on the ground which is clear evidence of our commitment to serve the masses,” he said and added that the next government would again be of PML-N as the people knew that this was the only party that selflessly serves the masses. He said that opposition should do politics.
Abbasi said that it was the Nawaz Sharif government that took the initiative of bringing to life the power projects that were shelved in the past. He said even a cursory glance of power production from the year 2000 to 2013 would show that nothing significant was achieved.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction with the initiation of commercial operations of the Patrind Hydropower plant and its timely completion. He hoped that the IPP project would help meet the demand of electricity for Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He termed it a landmark achievement for Pakistan-Korean cooperation and appreciated Daewoo for its long-term commitment with Pakistan. He said Pakistan today was self-sufficient in power generation and said the current output exceeded the demand.
He hoped that it would be sufficient to meet the demand during the next summers as well. He regretted that the previous governments had failed in meeting their obligations and it was only the PML-N government that realised its responsibility and managed to produce 10,500MW of electricity in four and a half years of time. He said several other projects were in different phases of completion and hoped the power generation would further go up. He cited the projects of Lowari Tunnel and Diamer Bhasha Dam that, despite several promises and inaugural plaques, failed to make any headway. He said the projects of Gwadar and motorways were today a reality and playing a key role in national economy. He also mentioned the Super Highway between Karachi and Hyderabad and said it was ignored even by five prime ministers from Sindh. However, it was only the PML-N government that took up the initiative of expanding it.
Similarly, he said the Nandipur project too was neglected and only it was the PML-N government that made it functional. The prime minister said that the federal government accorded high priority to projects in Azad Kashmir and said several other projects were in different phases of completion. He stated that the government fully stood by the AJK government and would continue to facilitate its development projects. He said the PML-N government provided record funds to the provinces and said it doubled the funding for the AJK from Rs11 billion to Rs22 billion.
Earlier, he inaugurated the run-of-river project that had been completed by the Star Hydro Power Limited, an Independent Power Producer (IPP), and was located near village Patrind, District Muzaffarabad of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). The prime minister was also briefed about the project that would generate, on average, 632 GWh of electricity annually. Under the project, the water of river Kunhar would be diverted through a conduit, located near village Patrind, and a left bank conveyance system of headrace tunnel to the right bank of river Jhelum, near the city of Muzaffarabad, where a powerhouse had been built.
AJK President Sardar Masood Khan, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Minister for Kashmir Affairs Birjees Tahir and senior ministers of the AJK were present on the occasion.