ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday directed the authorities concerned to link the Thar Coal Mines with the country’s railway network by March 2023.
During a meeting chaired by the prime minister, it was decided that the project of linking Thar Coal Mines with rail network would jointly be executed by the federal and Sindh governments. In this regard, Prime Minister Shehbaz and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah would sign a Memorandum of Understanding.
The prime minister told the meeting that the development projects needed to be completed with the “Pakistan Speed”. He said the previous government had inflicted an irreparable loss to the country during the last four years.
He said the government was trying to revive the development course which the previous government had deliberately stopped during 2018 to 2022. “During our previous government, we accomplished the development projects within a record period. What to talk of launching new development projects, the previous government halted the ongoing ones wasting the public money,” he remarked.
He said with the linking of Thar Coal Mines with railway network, local coal would be used in power plants replacing imported one. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the use of Thar coal in power plants would help save $2 billion annually.
The meeting was told that after the linking of Thar Coal Mines with rail network, the local coal would be utilised not only by the power plants of Jamshoro and Port Qasim but also other power plants and industries in the country.
The prime minister instructed the authorities concerned to accelerate the work on the said project to complete it by March 2023. Federal ministers Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Khurram Dastgir, special assistants to PM Jahanzeb Khan, Zafaruddin Mahmood and senior officers attended the meeting.
Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah joined the meeting via video link. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warned that climate change would not spare other countries after the flash floods inundated one-third of Pakistan and left millions of people homeless.
“What happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan,” he said in a tweet reiterating his call for urgent action a day after the United Nations issued a revised flash appeal of $816 million as relief assistance for the flood-stricken people of the country.
A month ago, an initial $160 million flash appeal was made to address immediate needs based on estimates. However, the results of recent need assessments, that led to the up-scaling of flash appeal to $816 million, revealed that much more is needed to save those struggling to survive the aftermath of floods.
PM Sharif in his tweet highlighted that more than 1,600 Pakistanis including 400 children had lost their lives due to massive floods besides thousands of kilometres of road infrastructure and bridges washed away.
“Entire villages have been swallowed up by raging water. Nature has been truly unforgiving,” he said. Recently, Shehbaz Sharif actively pursued the case of flood-hit Pakistan on international platforms, including at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, in London, and at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
A video compilation shared by the official Twitter account of the government of Pakistan gave a flashback of different occasions when Shehbaz Sharif made passionate calls at the global level, stressing an urgent response by the world for the disaster-hit Pakistan.
In his meetings with over 50 world leaders on the eve of SCO and UNGA last month, the prime minister called for climate justice and appealed to the world to share the burden of climate crisis. He also highlighted that Pakistan is responsible for less than one percent of the world’s planet-warming gases, yet it is the eighth most vulnerable nation to the climate crisis.
During his participation at both the important global and regional forums, Shehbaz Sharif, on the sidelines, also interacted with foreign media to relay his message about the importance of an emergency action plan against climate change.
With his call for climate action, PM Sharif was covered by the world’s top broadcasters and international media, including Washington Post, CNN, Reuters, Aljazeera, BBC, Bloomberg, TRT World, Independent, Arab News, Le Monde, Al Ittihad, Zaman, Barron’s, City News, YeniSafak, The Straits Times, and several others.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s promise to construct 100 homes under the Flood Relief Village in Tank district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was fulfilled after the construction task was completed in a record period of time.
The prime minister, during his visit to the flood-affected district on September 2, promised the construction of 100 homes for the displaced families. On September 3, the construction site was selected and on September 11 the construction work started after completion of the survey on September 7.
The construction process was completed on October 5 in record 24 days. The prominent architect of the country, Ali Naqvi, had designed the housing units.
The prime minister thanked Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzies Global Aviation Philipp Joeinig, who called on him, for the construction of flood relief village, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release. He termed the construction of 100 housing units a vital step in the rehabilitation of flood-affected families.
The housing units are equipped with facilities of a solar system, school, clinic and tube-well. The units are made of the latest construction material and technology, which can resist extreme weather conditions. The school has the facility of computer and other latest facilities whereas the clinic will provide health and treatment facilities to the local population.
Moreover, about 9,000 saplings of indigenous varieties were planted around the construction site. The Menzies had constructed 270 housing units in Mithan Kot and Rajanpur during the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods.
The group is interested in making investment in aviation sector of Pakistan, besides the construction of a skiing resort. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif telephoned Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to inquire after his ailing father and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.
The prime minister conveyed his prayers and best wishes for the early recovery and complete health of the former president. “Spoke to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to inquire after Asif Ali Zardari. I conveyed my prayers and best wishes to him for early recovery and complete health of Zardari sahib,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
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Soon after the blast, the police reached the site and cordoned off the area.