Long term planning, self-dependence inevitable for country’s uplift: PM
ISLAMABAD: January 28 - Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing at the launching ceremony of documentary-drama “Paani Ke Pankh”. APP

ISLAMABAD, Jan 28 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said that economic self-dependence and long-term planning were inevitable for country’s development as country had suffered in the past owing to short term approach of the previous government.

Addressing the launching ceremony of a docu-daram “Pani Ke Pankh” to highlight the realigned policies of the government to ensure water security as part of Sustainable Development Goals.

Federal Ministers Shibili Faraz, Faisal Vawda, Omar Ayub, Dr Shireen Mazari, Senator Faisal Javed and Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Lt. General (Retd) Muzammil Hussain attended the event besides project team members including Singer Atif Aslam, Zonaira Azhar and others.

A production of JB production, the docu-drama exhibited the revival and importance of hydro power in Pakistan particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which had suffered the most in war against terrorism.

The prime minister said the previous governments executed short term projects just to attract votes by cutting ribbons within their tenures which dragged the country behind.

He said the developed countries like China planned 10 to 20 years ahead of time while in Pakistan, the previous governments executed short term projects and spent billions of rupees on their promotion to win the next election.

He said due to the very reasons, the hydro power projects were not executed despite immense potential of 70,000 megawatt in the country rather the governments signed exorbitant contracts to supply the costliest electricity in the subcontinent.

He said under the contracts, the government had to pay capacity payment even without consuming the electricity. Under the head Rs 180 billion were paid in 2019, Rs 500 billion by the incumbent government and the amount would swell to Rs 1500 billion by 2023.

He said after 50 years, the government launched work on Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams to increase power production, conserve water and thus uplift the agriculture sector.

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Moreover, the new dams would also supply clean energy which was crucial to fight climate change as Pakistan was among the most nine vulnerable countries in the world.

The prime minister said the country’s industry had been performing well till 60s by getting low cost electricity but the situation started deteriorating since 90s and worsened during 2008-18 which he called the “decade of darkness.”

Rubbishing the opposition’s propaganda of excessive loans taken by the government, the prime minister explained that the total debt swelled by Rs 11,000 billion from Rs 25,000 to Rs 36,000 billion. Out of Rs 11,000 billion, Rs 6,000 billion went to pay the mark up of the loans obtained by the previous government, Rs 3,000 were the impact of dollar appreciation from Rs 105 to Rs 160 during the current government. Out of rest Rs2,000 billion, Rs800 billion were used to bridge the reduced tax collection due to COVID-19 and rest amount was utilized to give relief packages by the government.

The prime minister advised against the approach of appeasing others to improve country’s image rather he said economic self dependence was the only key to earn respect in the comity of nations. The nations surviving on others’ support and loans could never earn dignity, he added.

The prime minister said the first blunder was to join the US-led war against terrorism after 9/11 which inflicted huge loss to the country.

He said the country could only survive when the people paid taxes to enable the government run state affairs like extending education and health facilities to the masses.

Imran Khan said the country was rich with huge potential and all what needed was to boost confidence in own capabilities.

Appreciating the docu-drama, the prime minister urged the local artists to produce more such works assuring government’s all out support. Recalling the golden era of Pakistan’s showbiz industry, the prime minister said it downed after the industry started selling coped Indian content, losing its worth along with the originality.

The prime minister appreciated the WAPDA chairman for taking on the challenge of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams’ construction and said once completed, his services would be remembered forever.

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Earlier, Minister for Power Faisal Vawda said, unlike previous governments, the PTI-led government started construction of dams because the interests of Imran Khan and the state were matching.

Mentioning the corruption scams of the previous rulers, the minister said they signed power contracts forcing the country to pay cost even without consuming the electricity.

He said owing to the dynamic leadership of Imran Khan, the country sailed through the COVID challenge as the textile and automobile industries were booming and the current account deficit had also been balanced.

He said instead of spending huge money for self-promotion, the government launched work on mega projects.

He said not only the economy, the prime minister also defended the nation’ interest on all fronts, be it the blasphemy or taking up the issues at the international forums.

Faisal Vawda said JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was using innocent people for political gains. He also criticized PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz for supporting the land mafia of Lahore after the government demolished their structures built on the state land.

Concept Writer of docu-drama Zonaira Azhar said the work would help highlight the positive image of the country particularly the KP province which was maligned as gun-oriented society during the ant-terror war.

On the occasion, a short clip of the docu-drama was also played which earned huge applause from the audience.

Earlier, WAPDA Chairman Lt. General (Retd) Muzammil Hussain said the Authority was pursuing power projects based on three basic factors of PM’s people-centric policies like production of clean energy, uplift of agriculture sector and promotion of technology use. He said 3,000 engineers had been trained to carry out multiple projects in the power sector.

He told the audience that power projects worth $26 billion were underway.

The WAPDA chief said the English version of the docu-drama would also be produced for country’s image building abroad.