PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif began the party’s Layyah poll campaign on Friday with a history lesson. Tracing the development of the atomic bomb, an enraged Nawaz said that the Pakistan Peoples Party leadership had “underestimated” the weapon’s worth.
On May 28, 1998 and May 30, 1998, Pakistan conducted two nuclear tests in the desolated regions of the Chagai hills. The tests, which occurred during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure as prime minister, were conducted in retaliation to India’s.
Nawaz said that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government had “wasted” the country’s nuclear capability by not utilising the technology for energy generation. “Zardari can never realise the importance of nuclear capability. I had to pay a hefty price to develop this capability. I was imprisoned, faced exile from the country and bore punishment for my valour,” thundered Nawaz.
Shahbaz Sharif’s conference
Addressing a news conference at the PML-N secretariat in Lahore on Friday, former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif launched a diatribe against leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and PPP who hold PML-N responsible for Punjab’s energy crisis.
The PPP has blamed the Sharif brothers for the lack of electricity by cancelling projects it had launched in 1997. In his speeches in Punjab, PTI leader Imran Khan has repeatedly held Shahbaz responsible for fuelling the power crisis through injudicious fund allocation.
Punjab has been facing a consistent shortage of fuel and electricity. CNG stations fail to cater to customers, while urban centres are facing over 12 hours of load-shedding on a daily basis.
To these allegations, Shahbaz said that the PTI and the PPP, along with the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, were maligning the PML-N over Punjab’s energy crisis for electoral advantage. “Imran Khan deserves a medal for siding with PPP in blaming the PML-N,” he said.
Regarding the cancellation of a 1997 project, Shahbaz said that the current crisis of electricity was due to former premiers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, President Asif Ali Zardari, and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda). He reiterated that PML-N did not cancel any projects in 1997.
Shahbaz added that Wapda was also responsible for inefficient transmission of power.
“Circular debt caused due to line losses, electricity theft and the corruption by the federal government is one of the major causes of severe load-shedding these days,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2013.
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