In an apparent reference to political foe Imran Khan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged all politicians to give up negative tactics and strive together for the development of Pakistan. The days of leg pulling in politics are over and those trying to prevent the government from taking the country forward must stop, the premier said on Thursday.
“We want to take Pakistan forward to a stage where it stands proudly among the comity of nations and urge all those trying to create obstacles to join hands in the country’s progress,” he said after performing the groundbreaking of 102MW Gulpur hydropower project in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
About 33 per cent work on the project has already been completed and the remaining plant is expected to be completed within 48 months. Korea has invested around $310 million in the plant. Without naming the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which lost the recent by-election on the coveted NA-122 Lahore constituency to the ruling party, PM Nawaz said those who had lost the election should accept the results with an open heart.
He also advised the PTI leadership to show political maturity. “We accepted your demand of re-elections but you are still not accepting the results,” he added. The premier said baseless allegations were made about rigging in the 2013 general elections. “And now after a free, fair and transparent election, the PML-N candidate has won again,” he said.
“I invite those people, who are trying to pull our legs, to come and contribute in the development of Pakistan,” he said in a veiled jibe at Imran. He admitted that his party had issued ticket to a wrong candidate erroneously but even then the PTI’s candidate lost in the Okara by-poll.
He also regretted the undue criticism of his Rs350 billion Kissan Package that was aimed at helping the farming community and boosting the country’s agriculture sector.
PM Nawaz said his government had gone out of its way to accommodate those who had resigned from their seats in the National Assembly. He said he had asked Maulana Fazlur Rehman to take back his resolution in the assembly against the PTI, as “his government believes in the way forward”.
“The people can clearly see and understand who is serving the masses and who is trying to undermine the pace of development and progress,” he said, again hinting at the confrontational politics of the PTI chief.
The premier made a resolve that before the end of his tenure about 3,600MW would be added to the national grid and power load shedding would be over for good by 2018. He claimed that power outages had been cut down from 12 hours to 6 hours, owing to a number of effective measures taken by his government.
“It is our top priority to make electricity available at cheaper rates to farmers. LNG, coal and water-based power projects will help produce cheap electricity,” he said. Around 600MW of electricity would be produced from Thar Coal in Sindh.
He said the Gulpur project was another sign of confidence of foreign investors in Pakistan. He also invited South East, a leading South Korean company working on many projects internationally, to invest more in Pakistan and become a partner in the 4,500MW Diamer-Basha Dam.
He said the work on the Neelum-Jhelum project was also nearing completion. The project would be privatised and the Korean company may also join the bidding process. PM Nawaz also congratulated the Gulpur project managers and staff for their hard work and dedication, adding the government would do its utmost to help the people of Azad Kashmir and turn it into a developed area.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2015.