- Nawaz Sharif tells party leaders to accelerate development works to make up the deficiency
- Says work on CPEC being carried out with great sincerity and there’s no accusations of kickbacks or corruption on PML-N govt
- Says Pakistan ready to say goodbye to IMF with country being called emerging economy and achieving self-sufficiency
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing a meeting of his party’s parliamentary committee on Thursday, said Chinese President Xi Jinping had during his visit to Islamabad last year called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a “gift” to Pakistan, and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has been working with great sincerity to complete this mega project.
“Our government has been working with great sincerity; there have been no accusations of kickbacks or corruption against us. Chinese President Xi Jinping had been waiting for the time when our (PML-N) government would be in power, so that they could make this investment,” the premier said referring to the $46 billion investment made by the Chinese government for various projects under the CPEC.
In his address to PML-N parliamentarians, including cabinet members, senators, MNAs, MPAs and advisers, Sharif lauded the swiftness with which power projects were being executed under the CPEC.
“Lots of power projects are being undertaken,” he said, claiming that Chinese officials working on these projects had said these (projects) were being executed even faster than those built in China.
Earlier this week, following a high-level cabinet meeting on energy, informed officials suggested the government was losing sleep over its promise(s) of ending electricity load shedding by May 2018.
A PML-N legislator privy to government’s nervousness caused by the severity of the task had admitted that “if the government fails to generate the required amount of power and to bring load shedding under control before PML-N leaders hit the road for the 2018 general elections campaign, risks will too high”.
Commenting on the ruling party’s powers projects, a Ministry of Water and Power official said the government had no option but to deliver since it was facing a formidable opposition.
Reiterating his government’s objectives, PM Sharif said, “Producing more power, ending load shedding and supplying cheap electricity are our goals.” “For the first time in 70 years in Pakistan’s history, coal is being extracted from Thar. Exploration of coal deposits in Thar and setting up coal-based power plants will aid in achieving this end,” he added, observing, “This should have been done 70 years ago.”
“We want to deliver on the commitments we made to the people,” the prime minister said, and questioned, “Why weren’t power projects given importance by the previous governments? Why weren’t they being set up when we came into power in 2013? If anyone had cared about these projects between 2008 and 2013, why had they not been carried out?”
PM Sharif also called for “former president Pervez Musharraf and others, who were in power before the PML-N, to be brought before the National Assembly and questioned (by parliamentarians) as to why they ruined Pakistan. You were in power, but why didn’t you pay attention to this problem”.
He also told the participants that the government had historically saved Rs 100 billion from these power plants.
Highlighting his government’s vision of regional connectivity, the premier said that Gwadar would be linked with the entire country through a network of motorways as well as with Central Asia.
He further said that two LNG-fuelled power plants were being constructed and the government would make all-out efforts for their timely completion, as the company had sought some more time in this regard.
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO IMF:
Prime Minister Sharif said that despite propaganda by some people, the government had successfully brought the national economy to strong footings and even the international organisations had been recognising the positive trends in Pakistan’s economy.
“Pakistan could not be labelled as failed state as the country has not only become emerging market but an emerging economy,” the premier said as he congratulated parliamentarians on reports that the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded.
The IMF on Thursday cleared payment to Pakistan of a final $102 million tranche in a $6.4 billion three-year programme.
“It is our desire… that after this, we will say goodbye to the IMF as the country has achieved self-sufficiency,” Sharif said.
MUST EXAMINE FACTORS BEHIND TERRORISM:
The premier praised the efforts of Pakistan army, police and the nation in bringing down terrorism and militancy in the country. “It’s important to examine who was in charge when terrorism began and what were the reasons. What were the factors behind surge in terrorism? Had things been run properly earlier, terrorism would not have entered Pakistan,” Sharif remarked.
He admitted that Pakistan had experienced “blowback” when military operations began in the country’s tribal belt. “We have tried to maintain peace as economic development will only be possible when there is no extremism,” he added.
The PM said that peace and economic development were inter-linked as after restoration of peace in Karachi, investors were coming to the city for business deals. He said the situation in Balochistan had also improved as parties were doing positive politics there and terrorists were on the run.
POLITICS OF PROGRESS VS POLITICS OF ANARCHY:
About the protest the opposition has planned to launch this month, the prime minister said that the public could differentiate between “those who do politics of progress and those who do politics of anarchy”. He said his government was determined to ensure a bright present and future.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has threatened to launch an anti-government protest from August 7, while the Pakistan People’s Party is also expected to initiate a protest campaign this month.
The premier said that the political parties planning to hold another sit-in would gain nothing as people of Pakistan could not be detracted by such sloganeers.
“People are mature and cannot be detracted anymore. They know which of the parties do politics of development and who believes in mere sloganeering. Only performance, not sit-ins, brings success in politics,” he averred.
Sharif said that all opposition parties had used derogatory language against the government during their electioneering in Azad Kashmir, and the people had seen its consequences in form of election results.
Recalling his party’s stunning victory in the elections of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit, local bodies as well as in cantonment boards, the prime minister assured the people that his government would fulfill all of its commitments during its remaining tenure.
“We should accelerate the development works. We should carry out historic development during next two years and make up the deficiency,” he urged the parliamentarians.
Upon his arrival at the venue of the meeting, the prime minister was received by participants by thumping the desk whom he thanked for praying for his recovery after he underwent an open-heart surgery in London.
The meeting was attended by a huge number of PML-N parliamentarians including cabinet members, senators, MNAs, MPAs and advisers who reposed confidence in PM Sharif’s leaderships and his decisions.