Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has blamed the ‘retrogressive policies’ of previous governments for the country’s myriad crises, including terrorism and power outages.
Addressing a gathering in Shamlakot after inaugurating a 56-kilometre, four-lane motorway between Khanewal and Multan, the premier regretted that the policies of former rulers had adversely affected the countrymen and took a huge toll on the country’s economy.
PM Nawaz wants terrorism stamped out
“Instead of completing the projects after dislodging our government in 1999, they gifted power outages to the industrial, domestic and agriculture sectors,” he alleged.
Referring to the scourge of terrorism, he said precious lives of policemen, soldiers, civil administration officials and common citizens had been lost. “The situation worsened in the past decade under the former regimes with the country going through untold miseries,” he added.
“We have taken bold decisions vis-à-vis terrorism and followed them with actions,” the premier said. “We will not budge on our stance against terrorism and soon Pakistan will be a better place, banishing the darkness of load-shedding and terrorism forever.”
Going back even further in history, he said former rulers had divided the countrymen, leading to the dismemberment of East Pakistan. “Contrary to such negative tendencies, our government has always fostered affection among all parts of the country by closely integrating them into one cohesive unit,” he added.
Pakistan moving away from terrorism under Nawaz: US
Linking the construction of roads with close interaction among people of different places, he said shortened distances would remove ethnic and linguistic divides and people would get closer to each other.
He also urged the nation to learn from the bitter lessons of the past. “Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan have been closely integrated now and they feel stronger attachment with other regions,” he said.
The Khanewal-Multan motorway section has been constructed at a cost of Rs12.9 billion. The M4 section consists of 44 underpasses, 4 interchanges, 17 bridges and 28 subways. This section is an extension of the Lahore-Karachi Motorway.
The premier said farmers would be able to deliver their commodities to markets with the expansion of roads. The motorway will reduce the travel duration from Lahore to Multan by 2½ hours. He added that he wanted to make Pakistan prosperous. “Elimination of terrorism and load shedding are the top priorities of the government.”
Progress in Pakistan due to institutional harmony: Rashid
About the energy crisis, Premier Nawaz said his government had reduced the price of electricity and would eliminate load shedding in the next two years.
Addressing the cultivators of sugarcane, he said the growers should not accept less than the fixed price of Rs180 per mound, which has been set for all four provinces. “We are not negligent of any of our duties,” he said. “The government is trying its best to help the people who were affected by the recent earthquake.”
Brushing aside criticism over the route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the premier said the entire nation would enjoy the benefits of the multibillion-rupee project.
Addressing his political rivals, the prime minister said the results of the local government elections spoke for the performance of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. “Those who speak against the Metro bus project do not speak against the project, but they speak against all those poor people who travel on these buses,” he claimed.
PM inaugurates Khanewal-Multan section of motorway
Later on his way to Multan after performing the inauguration, the prime minister paid a surprise visit to a girls school in Shamkot village, where he announced the school will be upgraded to the higher secondary level.
Accompanied by the school staff, the premier inspected different classrooms, laboratories and drinking facilities and expressed concern over the dilapidated conditions. He also directed the district administration to immediately resolve the sewerage and sanitation problems being faced by the villagers.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2015.