SAHIWAL: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday said his government's performance would wash away all the baseless allegations by the opposition, which was impeding nothing but the country's progress.
"They are not impeding or attempting to foil me. They are attempting to obstruct the country's progress. We will not allow them to affect our pace. People will distinguish between the negative and corrupt elements and those, who delivered," he said addressing the inauguration ceremony of the first unit of Sahiwal Coal Power Project.
The prime minister was accompanied by Punjab Governor Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana and Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali. Ambassador of China in Pakistan Sun Weidong was also present on the occasion.
With total capacity of 1320 megawatt, the project comprises two coal-based power plants of 660MW each. This is one of the early harvest projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It has been completed in a record 22 months period, six months ahead of the prescribed schedule.
Executed by M/s Huaneng Shandong Ruyi Pakistan Energy Private Limited, the first unit has already been connected to the national grid since May 12 this year while the second unit will be connected during the current month.
The prime minister also visited the control room and different sections of the power plant wherein the Chinese engineers briefed him about the functioning of the plant.
Nawaz Sharif told the charged gathering that he had no time to respond the unfounded accusations of the opposition rather left it up to the people to decide as all of his focus would be on the people's uplift.
"Now, work (on the development projects) has started and it will not stop," the prime minister expressed his resolve amid the slogans of `dekho dekho kon aya, sher aya, sher aya' raised by the crowd.
He said the government had planned to allocate a record budget for development works in next fiscal year as the people would listen to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar delivering the annual budget speech in the National Assembly on Friday.
Lauding the successful execution of the power project in just 22 months, he said it was unprecedented in the country's history, as usually even the coal shed (a component of the project) took more than two years to complete.
"This is Punjab speed. This is the PML-N speed. Hats off to you Shahbaz Sharif! You called me hero, you are hero yourself," the prime minister remarked highly acknowledging the services of Punjab chief minister and his team.
On the chief minster's recommendation, the prime minister also announced a one month bonus salary to all of the Chinese and Pakistani workers, who had been part of the project.
Prime Minister Sharif lauded the services of the Chinese ambassador in the implementation of the CPEC.
He said it was encouraging to see Pakistani youngsters serving at the project with their Chinese counterparts in different capacities.
He appreciated Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq for timely extending the railway line to the project site for transportation of the coal.
The prime minister said not only Sahiwal Power Project, but more power projects were also being executed under CPEC.
He said as the first unit of Sahiwal Power Project had been opened with the capacity of 660 MW while the second one with similar capacity would be linked to national grid within two to three days.
He said his government had inherited three challenges of energy crisis, extremism and terrorism and revival of economy and all of them had been tackled prudently.
He said all of the government's efforts on all three fronts were coming to fruition.
"We have dismantled terrorist's network. Terrorism is eliminating. We will not rest until the last terrorist is eliminated. Economy has started doing well and is turning around. During current fiscal, we will achieve 5.3 percent growth rate which stood at 3.7 percent in 2013. We expect to achieve six percent growth by next year that will go up to seven percent in two years," the prime minister remarked.
He said the power crisis was getting over as the government would be adding around 10,000 megawatt to the national grid by 2018 to bring an end to the load-shedding.
He told the gathering that the government was providing uninterrupted power and gas supply to industries and reiterated his government's resolve that there would be no load-shedding by next year.
He said besides ensuring sufficient power generation, the government was also striving to bring the power tariff down to facilitate the domestic consumers.
The prime minister said CPEC was a game changer and a something unprecedented in country's history as around $56 billion was being invested that could go up to $63 billion.
He said under CPEC, not only the power plants were being installed but roads and motorways were being constructed from Khunjrab to Gwadar besides developing Gwadar Port.
Even in opposition-led Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, the PML-N government was constructing roads and motorways like Hazara Motorway that would be linked to Muzaffarabad and Mirpur.
Mentioning different motorways being built across the country, the prime minister said by 2019, Peshawar would be linked to Karachi by six-lane motorway.
The prime minister lauded the Chinese President Xi Jinping's initiative of One Belt One Road launched in 67 countries what he viewed would change the game for Africa, Asia as well as the Eastern Europe.
He said contrary to the swift completion of Sahiwal Power Project in record time, the development projects in Pakistan took decades to complete escalating the cost by manifold.
He said Lahore-Islamabad Motorway valued Rs 21 billion in 1999 that had now increased to Rs 350 billion but unfortunately, the previous governments failed to expand the network and even the said motorway was also overhauled by the present government.
He also urged the people to question the previous governments for their failure to expand motorways, develop Gwadar Port, avert the closure of industry and allowing the power crisis to swell.
Brushing aside the opposition's allegations, the prime minister said had the current government been corrupt, such a huge projects would never have been completed in 22 months time.
He hoped that Pakistan would continue growing and illiteracy would come to an end. Hospitals and colleges would be built and if the pace continues, Pakistan would become a real power and no power could stop the country to become an Asian tiger, he remarked.