KARACHI: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that the government has accepted the challenge of resolving energy crisis in the country. “We have initiated so many projects for overcoming energy shortages in the country with the help of short-term, mid-term and long-term programmes. It is not possible to overcome energy crisis in three years as claimed by the opposition, he said while replying to a question about energy crisis at the inauguration of First Pakistan International Gems and Jewellery Exhibition.
Gilani said that his government has added 3,700 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the national grid. “The Pakistan Peoples Party- led coalition government has started work on Thar coal project to generate electricity. We have initiated work on Diamer-Bhasha dam, kicked off the Neelam-Jhelum project, we are negotiating with Iran on gas and electricity supply projects, working on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, establishing a channel to import electricity from Central Asian states and constructing wind and solar projects in the country,” he said.
The prime minister said that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has stopped run-of-the-river programme for generating electricity initiated by former chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. He said that whosoever is claiming to resolve energy crisis in three years is lying. “We are a responsible government. We have taken the ownership and accepted the challenge and will resolve this issue” he vowed.
Responding to a query on food sufficiency, the prime minister said that Pakistan has attained food security and reaped bumper crops this year. “Pakistan was importing wheat in 2008, but now the country is able to export it. We are exporting sugar due to surplus. Similarly, we have achieved a bumper rice crop and harvested an all time high cotton crop”.
Answering a question on unemployment, he said that the government has provided jobs to the people as envisaged in the party’s manifesto according to the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. The government has regularised contractual employees in the country, he added. Replying to a question about the federal budget, he said that there could not be a better budget under the prevailing circumstances. He further added that the government raised its employees’ salaries in every budget it has presented.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Federal Production Minister Chaudhry Anwar Ali Cheema were also present on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2012.