Our performance will wash away opposition’s baseless allegations: PM

3581
APP61-25 SAHIWAL: May 25 - Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif addressing the gathering of notables at the inaugural ceremony of Sahiwal Power Project First Unit (660 MW). APP photo by Chaudhry Ansar

SAHIWAL, May 25 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Thursday said his government’s performance would wash away all the
baseless allegations by the opposition, which was impeding nothing
but the country’s progress.
“They are not impeding or attempting to foil me. They are
attempting to obstruct the country’s progress. We will not allow
them to affect our pace. People will distinguish between the
negative and corrupt elements and those, who delivered,” he
said addressing the inauguration ceremony of the first unit of
Sahiwal Coal Power Project.
The prime minister was accompanied by Punjab Governor
Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana and Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Minister
for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Minister of State for Water and
Power Abid Sher Ali. Ambassador of China in Pakistan Sun Weidong
was also present on the occasion.
With total capacity of 1320 megawatt, the project comprises
two coal-based power plants of 660MW each. This is one of the
early harvest projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
It has been completed in a record 22 months period, six
months ahead of the prescribed schedule.
Executed by M/s Huaneng Shandong Ruyi Pakistan Energy Private
Limited, the first unit has already been connected to the national
grid since May 12 this year while the second unit will be connected
during the current month.
The prime minister also visited the control room and different
sections of the power plant wherein the Chinese engineers briefed
him about the functioning of the plant.
Nawaz Sharif told the charged gathering that he had no time
to respond the unfounded accusations of the opposition rather
left it up to the people to decide as all of his focus would be on
the people’s uplift.
“Now, work (on the development projects) has started and it
will not stop,” the prime minister expressed his resolve amid
the slogans of `dekho dekho kon aya, sher aya, sher aya’ raised
by the crowd.
He said the government had planned to allocate a record budget
for development works in next fiscal year as the people would listen
to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar delivering the annual budget speech
in the National Assembly on Friday.
Lauding the successful execution of the power project in just
22 months, he said it was unprecedented in the country’s history, as
usually even the coal shed (a component of the project) took more
than two years to complete.
“This is Punjab speed. This is the PML-N speed. Hats off to
you Shahbaz Sharif! You called me hero, you are hero yourself,” the
prime minister remarked highly acknowledging the services of Punjab
chief minister and his team.
On the chief minster’s recommendation, the prime minister also
announced a one month bonus salary to all of the Chinese and Pakistani
workers, who had been part of the project.

Prime Minister Sharif lauded the services of the Chinese
ambassador in the implementation of the CPEC.
He said it was encouraging to see Pakistani youngsters serving
at the project with their Chinese counterparts in different
capacities.
He appreciated Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq for timely
extending the railway line to the project site for transportation of
the coal.
The prime minister said not only Sahiwal Power Project, but
more power projects were also being executed under CPEC.
He said as the first unit of Sahiwal Power Project had been
opened with the capacity of 660 MW while the second one with similar
capacity would be linked to national grid within two to three days.
He said his government had inherited three
challenges of energy crisis, extremism and terrorism and revival of
economy and all of them had been tackled prudently.
He said all of the government’s efforts on all three fronts
were coming to fruition.
“We have dismantled terrorist’s network. Terrorism is
eliminating. We will not rest until the last terrorist is
eliminated. Economy has started doing well and is turning around.
During current fiscal, we will achieve 5.3 percent growth rate which
stood at 3.7 percent in 2013. We expect to achieve six percent
growth by next year that will go up to seven percent in two years,”
the prime minister remarked.
He said the power crisis was getting over as the government
would be adding around 10,000 megawatt to the national grid by 2018
to bring an end to the load-shedding.
He told the gathering that the government was providing uninterrupted
power and gas supply to industries and reiterated his government’s resolve that there would be no load-shedding by next year.
He said besides ensuring sufficient power generation, the
government was also striving to bring the power tariff down to
facilitate the domestic consumers.
The prime minister said CPEC was a game changer and a something
unprecedented in country’s history as around $56 billion was being
invested that could go up to $63 billion.
He said under CPEC, not only the power plants were being
installed but roads and motorways were being constructed from
Khunjrab to Gwadar besides developing Gwadar Port.
Even in opposition-led Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, the PML-N
government was constructing roads and motorways like Hazara Motorway
that would be linked to Muzaffarabad and Mirpur.
Mentioning different motorways being built across the country,
the prime minister said by 2019, Peshawar would be linked to Karachi
by six-lane motorway.
The prime minister lauded the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s
initiative of One Belt One Road launched in 67 countries what he
viewed would change the game for Africa, Asia as well as the Eastern
Europe.
He said contrary to the swift completion of Sahiwal Power
Project in record time, the development projects in Pakistan took
decades to complete escalating the cost by manifold.
He said Lahore-Islamabad Motorway valued Rs 21 billion in 1999
that had now increased to Rs 350 billion but unfortunately, the
previous governments failed to expand the network and even the said
motorway was also overhauled by the present government.
He also urged the people to question the previous governments
for their failure to expand motorways, develop Gwadar Port, avert
the closure of industry and allowing the power crisis to swell.
Brushing aside the opposition’s allegations, the prime
minister said had the current government been corrupt, such a huge
projects would never have been completed in 22 months time.
He hoped that Pakistan would continue growing and illiteracy
would come to an end. Hospitals and colleges would be built and if
the pace continues, Pakistan would become a real power and no power
could stop the country to become an Asian tiger, he remarked.

Later, commissioner Sahiwal presented a souvenir to the prime
minister.
Earlier, addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Punjab
Shehbaz Sharif said in 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made a bold
commitment not to allow the loadshedding to darken the people’s
lives.
He said the completion of 1320 MW Sahiwal Power Project was a
milestone that was the first mega project coming to fruition under
CPEC.
Lauding the completion of the project in record 22 months
period, the chief minister said such plants could not be built in
Asia or Europe at this speed.
“Even, Chinese contractors have broken their own record. This
is a world record,” the chief minister remarked.
Shehbaz Sharif said under CPEC, $36 billion were being spent
on power sector which was 40 percent higher than country’s foreign
reserves.
He said CPEC was the manifestation of trust and faith by
Chinese leadership in the people of Pakistan and the prime minister
for his ability to deliver in transparent and speedy manner.
He said the previous leaders had also been visiting China but
what was achieved by the prime minister was part of history as
unbelievable development took place in the country during last two
years.
“This is everlasting legacy of power plants, motorways and
jobs to millions of people,” he said.
Chief Minister Shehabaz Sharif said the people of Pakistan
would remain grateful to President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang
for this investment and to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He recalled that CPEC was to be signed by September 2014, but
a political party staged a sit-in and refused to call off their
activity despite being beseeched and having approached even through
highest diplomatic channels.
Had they called off their sit-in, the project could have been
completed by September last.
He said Neelum Jhelum project that had been facing delay since
18 years, was expedited in 2013 that would now be completed at cost
of $ 5 billion instead of initial cost of $800 million.
He said a military dictator had broken ground for Diamer
Bhasha Dam without even acquiring land for the project and it was
the current government that allocated Rs 60 billion for the project.
He also called the rental power project was a sheer wastage of
public money.
He also thanked President Xi, Premier Li, Chinese contractor,
engineers and particularly, relevant, DG FWO and all those who
extended their support enabling them to accomplish the task.
Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said it was first big scale
power project under CPEC that would help alleviate energy shortage
and inject new wave of national economic development.
He said the Chinese company employed many Pakistani workers
and provided 3,000 jobs to local workers which strengthened ties
with local people.
He said the Chinese workers shared advanced technologies and
expertise with local engineers and hoped that they would become
backbone for future operation of the project.
He said the OBOR Forum was successfully held in Beijing and
President Xi delivered keynote speech and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had
fruitful meetings with President Xi and Premier Li besides signing
of important documents.
He said the significance of CPEC got wide recognition and had
been implemented with unprecedented speed.
Chief Executive Officer of Sahiwal Coal Power Project Song
Taiji said the project had been executed at the international
standard that was much better than the world.
He said the second unit of the project would also be
syncronized to the national grid by this month end to help reduce
loadshedding.
Chairman M/s Huaneng Shandong Ruyi said the successful
operationalization of the Sahiwal Power Project evidenced the
unbreakable friendship between Pakistan and China as the government
extended all out resources for swift execution of the project.
He hailed the prime minister’s stance that friendly ties
between Pakistan and China was the cornerstone of his government
policy.
Vice President Huaneng Group Whang also hailed the extreme
interest by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the project
which had rightly been named as Shahbaz Speed.
He said the group would continue promoting the bilateral
cooperation under the agreement signed with Punjab government.