Monday Jul 12, 2021
LAHORE: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif on Monday criticised the PTI-led government and said that it has subjected the masses to the curse of electricity load-shedding.
"There can be no greater crime than this," Shahbaz said while addressing a press conference in Lahore along with other PML-N leaders.
"When in power, the PML-N took measures to completely eliminate the problem of electricity load-shedding. As against that, the entire nation has been subjected to the curse of load-shedding by the PTI once again," he said.
"There can be no greater crime than this."
He continued: "The cause of load-shedding is not only incompetence and negligence but it is a tell-tale sign of rampant corruption over the course of three years."
Shahbaz said that the PTI resorted to hurling abuses, calling names, and levelling corruption allegations against the PML-N government but it could not prove anything.
"[Under the PTI government's rule], Balochistan is facing 10 hours of electricity load-shedding every day," he said, adding that the PTI government left no stone unturned in terms of "looting the people of Pakistan" and "left millions of people unemployed."
Shahbaz alleged that the incumbent government could not finalise a gas agreement despite its tall claims because it had been providing gas to its favourites, adding that it is up to the public to decide who takes practical steps for them and who merely delivers speeches while standing atop a container.
"Despite hydel power plants being less costly, the government could not manage to build a single dam in the country," he said. "At present, it [the government] is benefitting from capacity payments worth billions of rupees."
The PML-N leader said that the PTI-led government failed to come up with long-term power projects, and the short-term ones it introduced turned out to be excessively costly. As against that, he said, the PML-N government installed the cheapest power plants in the country during its tenure and saved Rs250 billion.
"If we had been corrupt, the mega projects we introduced would have proven that but the PTI could not prove any corruption against the PML-N," he said.
He went on to say that the people of Pakistan are suffering from power crisis and electricity load-shedding because of the incompetent policies of the PTI-led government.
"Is this the Naya Pakistan that was promised to the masses?" he questioned.
The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly also provided comparative statistics and pointed out how the PML-N government worked to introduce two LNG terminals during its tenure.
The PTI government, despite being in power for the last three years, could not introduce a single LNG terminal, he said.
In response to the comments, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar told Shahbaz that he should "not mislead people" with his statements, adding that electricity load-shedding takes place not because of a shortage in production but owing to the weaknesses of the transmission system.
"For several days, we have been successfully delivering 24,000 megawatts of electricity to the masses," Azhar said, adding that Pakistan's average power consumption is 16,000 MW.
He criticised the previous PML-N government and said that while it sings praises for its initiatives, it installed power plants that run on imported fuel, incurring additional costs.
"If the PML-N had made cheap deals, why did the circular debts increase by Rs1,200 billion?" Azhar questioned.
Refuting PML-N's claim that people are suffering from excessive load-shedding, Azhar maintained that he has discussed the situation with the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC), adding that there will be no unannounced load-shedding anywhere in the country.
Taking a jibe at Shahbaz, Azhar said that ever since the government had stopped the PML-N leader from going to the UK, he seems to have been in a bad health condition.
"We are already dealing with the mess [the PML-N] made during its tenure. Kindly, do not further mislead people," Azhar concluded.