BHAWALPUR: Terming the politics of agitation “uncalled for” at a time when the country was on a path to progress, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday invited Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Dr Tahirul Qadri for a meeting over a cup of tea to hear their concerns.
“Come to the Prime Minister’s House. Talk to me. Have tea or coffee with me, discuss your issues,” he said, and recalled, “I too visited you.”
Addressing a jam-packed gathering at the Islamia University Bhawalpur after the inauguration of country’s first solar park project, the prime minister said there was no justification for protests, particularly at a time when the country had embarked on a path to progress and development.
“What is the need of the protest now?” he questioned.
“Are they against progress? Are they against development projects in Pakistan? Are they against measures to end corruption, against declining rate of dollar, end of load shedding?”
He said the people of Pakistan had sacrificed a lot and it was time that the country was allowed to move forward. He said the government was working on projects to build motorways and power plants, while cutting down on expenses, and there was no justification to agitate whatsoever.
He also dismissed the allegations of rigging in the general election and asked the people where the rigging took place. “This is not the way – that we will neither play, nor let you play. You have been playing all your life. Exhibit the same sportsman spirit now,” he said.
The prime minister earlier performed the groundbreaking of the country’s first ever Rs 15 billion 100MW solar power park to provide cheap electricity and help the country meet its increasing energy needs.
The Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park will be expanded to produce 300MW in second phase by 2015, while in third phase, it will add another 600MW, with a total power generation capacity of 1,000MW by 2016.
The project will be completed by the Chinese company TBEA, and produce electricity at a per unit cost of Rs 15. The Bank of Punjab is providing 75 percent of the funding for the project, while the remaining 25 percent will be provided by the Punjab government.
A 132KV transmission line for 400MW has already been installed, while another 220KV line to carry another 600MW will be completed in a year. Nawaz said his government would accomplish the task of meeting the country’s energy needs much before the end of the tenure of his government.
He said the solar power project in Bhawalpur would be operational in a few months and reach its full capacity of generating 1,000MW in a little over two years. He said the project reflected the love of the PML-N government towards its people and commitment towards their future.
He said the dearth of electricity in the past had pushed the country backwards, and its entire industry and agriculture sector had suffered immensely. He said the people of Pakistan were suffering in all spheres of life, as they could not get clean drinking water and health facilities, and their businesses suffered because there was no electricity.
The prime minister appreciated the performance of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his team for their dedicated work and timely completion of various development projects.
He said the good news for the people of Bhawalpur was that a new motorway project linking Lahore to Karachi would pass close to their city, while another motorway would link it to Multan.
The PM said that the 2,100km Pakistan-China trade corridor would have industrial estates, and development would take place along the entire route. He said that Gwadar would be made a modern city, and be a free port. He said that Pakistan had a generation capacity of 23,000MW, and in the next eight years, another 21,000MW would be added to the generation capacity. He said that Pakistan was currently producing only 13,000MW.
The PM also appreciated the remarks made by the Chinese ambassador, who reiterated the resolve of his government to help Pakistan in all areas.
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