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Thursday May 25 2017

Those hurling accusations harming Pakistan, not me: PM


SAHIWAL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday likened hurling accusations on him to destabilising Pakistan, asking how the swift completion of various projects would have been possible if his government was corrupt.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Sahiwal Coal Power Project, the prime minister said that the incumbent government has made enormous progress on the three major problems it inherited in 2013—power shortage, terrorism and economic issues, adding that load shedding will end after 2018.

“Our efforts are bearing fruits…we have made enormous progress on all three fronts,” he said.

The prime minister added that electricity rates would also be decreased.

He praised the Chinese officials and engineers for working alongside their Pakistani counterparts on the project and completing it in “record” time of 22 months. He also congratulated Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the completion of the project.

Appreciating the Chinese ambassador for his role in realising the projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he called the imitative a gamechanger for Pakistan which has fetched in $56 billion worth of investment.

The prime minister said that the beneficiaries of these projects would be the youth, labourers and those residing in villages.

“Pakistan will become a regional power in few years. No one can stop us from being Asian tiger,” he said.

Earlier the prime minister inaugurated the first 660 megawatt (MW) unit of the Sahiwal Coal Power Project on Thursday.

The 1320MW capacity plant — said to be part of the early projects of the CPEC — was completed in 22 months. 

The premier — accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Governor Rafique Rajhwana and State Power Minister Abid Sher Ali — was also given a tour of the plant, which has been developed by a Chinese company.

The delegation, which also included Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique and Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong, was also given a briefing by Chinese and Pakistani engineers on the operations of the plant. 

Earlier, during a meeting with a Chinese delegation of Huaneng Group in Lahore on Wednesday, the Punjab chief minister felicitated the Chinese workers on completion of the project six months ahead of time.

The Chinese delegation told the chief minister that the second 660MW unit of the Sahiwal Coal Power Plant will also start generating power shortly.

Taking a jibe at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Shehbaz had said the plant would have been completed even earlier along with other related projects had it not been for the dharna (sit-in).