LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif conducted a hectic tour of Lahore on weekly off-day Sunday, visited various departments and chaired meetings one after the other. He did the tour at a fast pace for which he is known to all concerned.
Shehbaz took notice of long load shedding hours and directed the departments concerned to take immediate steps for reducing power outages by the next month, May 2022. "Until we get rid of loadshedding, I will not leave for China, and I will not allow anyone to relax," Shehbaz said, adding that people were in trouble due to criminal negligence of the previous government. He directed the relevant authorities to make every effort to minimise the sufferings of people.
The PM said that short- and long-term measures should be taken till sufficient quantity of oil and gas was arranged to operationalise closed thermal power plants. He claimed that the outgoing government, led by Imran Khan, failed to add a single unit to the national grid, and also did not import LNG on cheaper rates on time.
Shehbaz said it was an irony that the Imran government closed the most efficient and affordable power plants, installed by the PMLN government and used expensive and inefficient plants. He said the nation was paying Rs100 billion monthly due to wrong decisions of the Imran government. He said due to the negligence of the previous rulers, one LNG ship that was available for Rs6 billion is now costing the country Rs20 billion. "As such the nation will have to pay Rs500 billion extra this year,” he said adding that the previous rulers hatched a conspiracy to bankrupt Pakistan's economy by destroying the energy sector.
The prime minister visited Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, and announced a two-month remission in sentences of prisoners across Pakistan. He also announced formation of a committee, which would make a comprehensive strategy for betterment and overhauling of the prisons system. The committee, headed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, will consist of officers from all the four provinces. He said measures would be taken to make prisoners productive citizens when they return to society. He called for further improvement in the food and health facilities of prisoners. He also ordered to make effective use of available resources for skill development of prisoners. He also visited the jail cell where he was kept during the past years. He stayed in the barrack for some time, sat on a chair and offered a special prayer.
PM Shehbaz Sharif also paid a surprise visit to a Ramazan bazaar in Johar Town and directed the administration to ensure supply of food items at affordable prices during the holy month. He sought information from citizens regarding availability of food items, prices and arrangements.
The prime minister also visited the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) and expressed his anger over the prevailing conditions of the institute when he was informed that 14 out of 20 units of the hospital were lying closed. The hospital, which was set up to treat poor people coming from all over the country for free, treated only 17 per cent of the patients free last month, the PM regretted and said that when the hospital was built in 2015, he had announced that people from any part of Pakistan could get free treatment in the hospital.
“Unfortunately, the treatment was free till May 2018, and later the hospital remained closed for almost two years. Before the construction of this hospital, people used to get treatment from abroad,” he added. This hospital was made with the hard-earned money of the people of Pakistan and with very hard work.
He said he was sent to the NAB jail twice, but corruption of even 20 paisa was not proved against him. “It is a matter of great sorrow, rather mourning, that the hospital was destroyed only because it was made by the PMLN government,” he said. “I have directed the administration and the chief secretary Punjab to make it fully operational within 48 hours,” he announced.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also ordered financial assistance for farmers affected by the damage to their standing crops in Sialkot due to a fire incident. He directed the Punjab government to immediately give assistance cheques to the farmers whose 90,000 kilograms worth of wheat crop was burnt. The incident occurred on April 23 at Bela Pul Bajwaan in Bajwat sector. Wheat crop on 77 acres area was burnt affecting 15 farmers. According to the investigation, the fire was caused due to a fault in a harvesting machine.
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