JHANG: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the government will complete its tenure in June 2018, and elections will be held no later.
“In order to avoid anarchy, holding elections on time is necessary,” said Abbasi while addressing a ceremony for the groundbreaking of 1,263MW Punjab Power Plant in Haveli Bahadur Shah area of Jhang district on Saturday.
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He also claimed that all anti-government alliances would come to nought, and that there was no need for efforts to form a forward bloc within the government.
The PM claimed that the government had rid the country of the menace of loadshedding, except in a few areas where power theft was rampant.
“The government has successfully accomplished the mission of loadshedding-free Pakistan by launching projects to meet the power needs till 2030,” he said. “Currently there is no loadshedding in the country except for a few areas where cases of power theft are being reported.”
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Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Minister for Power Awais Khan Leghari and Minister of State for Power Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali accompanied the prime minister as they earlier unveiled the plaque to launch work on the project that would be completed in two phases. The ambassadors of China and Germany also attended the ceremony.
The first phase of the liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled project would be completed in 14 months and generate 810MW electricity while after the completion of the second phase in 26 months, the power production would reach a total of 1,263MW.
Taking the previous government to task for “failing to tackle loadshedding”, the prime minister said the power project initiated by the Pakistan Peoples Party government could not produce a single kilowatt of electricity even after 30 months, and indebted the country instead to the tune of Rs80 billion.
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However, he said, the incumbent government executed four projects in 20 months to contribute around 3,600MW electricity to the national grid.
Appreciating the role of the Punjab chief minister in overseeing the execution of four LNG power plants, PM Abbasi said the country could never have overcome loadshedding in the absence of those plants. He said it was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government that not only launched the development projects but also ensured their completion.
Taking over the podium, the Punjab chief minister said the PML-N government’s tenure was a grand success story, during which hundreds of mega projects had been completed with honesty, commitment, dedication and transparency.
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He said the PML-N had fulfilled its commitment made to the people during the election campaign in 2013 to solve the chronic issues of loadshedding, terrorism, law and order and poor governance.
He said in May 2015, the government decided to launch 3600MW power plants, which were opposed by many. However, ultimately “we decided to implement the projects and now we can claim that we have fulfilled our major commitments”, he added.
Shehbaz also paid tributes to the Chinese who stood by Pakistan in that critical time when nobody was prepared to invest in Pakistan. “We cannot forget their friendship,” he added.
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“We will be able to add 3600MW electricity to the national grid by February 2018 with the full functioning of Bhikki, Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki power plants,” he said.
About the Nandipur power project, he said that its machinery had been rusting at the Karachi Port for three years. The Supreme Court had clearly pointed out that Babar Awan was dishonest, but the National Accountability Bureau was not ready to initiate proceedings against him, he said, adding that yet another major and glaring anomaly was that the project was awarded without conducting any bidding process.
Mentioning embezzlement of billions of rupees in rental power plant projects, the Punjab CM said corruption kings were enjoying full immunity while the politicians who had been working with honesty, commitment and transparency were being subjected to undue accountability.
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He said he was ready for accountability of the 56 companies established during his tenure as CM. He levelled allegations of corruption against the PPP leadership and asked who “will recover the plundered money from them”.
Criticising PTI chief Imran Khan, Shehbaz said the persons standing to his right and left were involved in corruption. “Imran has wasted 22 precious months of the nation,” he said.
He said the government had fulfilled all its promises and provided relief to the farming community.