Unfulfilled promises: Circular debt

IF there was a way to generate electricity from promises, we’d be awash with it. It would be tedious to list all the promises we have had to hear on the road to our present predicament, but the last assurance needs special mention. We are now told that the government is going to inject Rs45bn in the power sector to address the liquidity needs of PSO, the state-owned oil importer which is having a hard time retiring its letters of credit due to its cash-flow problems because of non-payment by the power bureaucracy.

If promises and words alone could pay our bills, the country would have very few problems of any sort. But lately it feels like each day is Dec 31 when one recalls the most infamous of the promises that the last government made in its efforts to address the power crisis. If the government had Rs45bn to throw at the problem, we would not have had a crisis to begin with. The reason why we are in the midst of a power crisis, it is becoming increasingly clear, is that the power bureaucracy cannot generate electricity within its cost allowance, no matter how many tariff increases are given to it. The same power bureaucracy is unable to recover any money from its customers regardless of the extent to which it is empowered to do so. If Pakistan burns somewhere around 18,000 tons of furnace oil everyday to keep its power plants running, then only something like 13pc of the money to pay for that oil actually comes from the power bureaucracy. The remaining 87pc has to be financed by the government in the form of a subsidy.

Given the grim facts, it is hardly surprising that the circular debt has spiralled its way up to Rs537bn. This is an increase of almost 272pc from the day the PPP government was sworn in. Addressing this problem is now the first task for the next government, followed quickly by the declining reserves situation. Between the circular debt and the reserves, it seems the incoming government is all set to walk into the proverbial space between a rock and a hard place. Our power sector is now quite literally running on fumes, and unless serious policy decisions are made to redirect natural gas towards power, and to force the power bureaucracy to either deliver or step aside, we run the risk of running aground on our own promises. (Courtesy: Dawn)

PML-N determined to restore Pakistan’s dignity: Nawaz Sharif

Abbottabad:  PML-N President Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said it was a pity that Pakistan had no respect in the world despite being an atomic power. Addressing an election rally in Abbotabad .Nawaz Sharif said in 1999 Pakistan was progressing fast under his government but a military dictator overthrew the elected government and reversed the wheel of progress. “Dictator wasted eight years of Pakistan and spoiled the good work done by us,” he said.

He said after Musharraf, President Zardari came to power but his government also did nothing for the country. “If our government had been allowed to continue Pakistan would have been a different country by now,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif said he was appealing for votes because he wanted to bring Pakistan out of the crises it is facing. He said he would not sit in Islamabad after coming to power but would remain with the people and solve their problems.

“We will rebuild Pakistan with the help of youth and Pakistan will against be on track of progress—Agencies (Courtesy :Pakistan Observer)

Youth supporting PML-N: Nawaz Sharif

Muree :PML-N President  Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said the PPP was running election campaign on media because its leaders cannot face the people. He was Addressing Jalsa at Mall Road in Muree. He criticises President Zardari for his wrong deeds which resulted in suffering of masses, the presidency issues notice to election commission but he has nothing to praise for PPP as they did nothing for betterment of the nation. PML-N President said he played cricket but also make the country a nuclear power and enabled the nation to confront the enemy bravely. He said that his party spread a net of motorways and constructed a coastal highway, Gwadar port and introduced scores of developmental schemes. Nawaz said he was determined to lead the country on the path of honour and dignity. The former premier highlighted various achievements of his previous two-time tenures as a prime minister and said if the PML-N had been allowed to complete its tenure; the Pakistan would have been put on way to progress. He said he made the country an atomic power but ill-conceived and unwise policies pushed the country to problems.
He said power loadshedding in the country had made lives of the people miserable and damaged industrial and manufacturing sectors. He said energy crisis had also resulted in unprecedented unemployment, lawlessness and poverty. Pakistan, he said, was facing one of the lowest economic growths in the world which had further aggravated problems of the masses.
He said the PML-N has always rendered commendable services to improve socio-economic conditions and it has taken all decisions strictly on merit. He said the PML-N after coming to power would again strive hard for well-being of the masses, instead of pursuing personal or sectional gains as it wanted to see Pakistan one of the most vibrant country moving towards progress and prosperity. Nawaz Sharif said he had built Islamabad-Muree Motorway and other development projects in Murree and its joining areas. He pledged to build railway link from Rawalpindi to Murree and Muzafarabad, besides promising to establish world standard medical, engineering and agriculture universities and state of the art hospital in Murree. PML-N candidate from NA-50, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and others also addressed the public meeting. (The News)

Shahbaz urges ECP not to stop ‘foul-mouthed’ Imran

Lahore: PML-N Central Leader Shahbaz Sharif has said the election commission has taken notice of the foul-mouthed statement of Imran Khan, however, he wants to request the ECP to let Imran go scot-free so that the people can see his original face. He warned that if the people, having a hidden agenda, succeeded in dividing the vote bank of Nawaz, the Punjab would again be dragged into the dark ages of loadshedding which would damage the industry and agriculture. Addressing different public gatherings in Lahore on Sunday, Shahbaz said the people had tolerated the PPP’s corruption and now the time had almost arrived that damage to Nawaz Sharif’s vote bank would not be allowed. He warned the people thinking of stealing the PML-N vote bank that they were just daydreaming. He claimed that the people of Lahore had already given their decision in favour of the PML-N and it would win all the seats.  Shahbaz Sharif further said that if the PML-N again came to power, it would not let any student to be deprived of higher education just because he belonged to a poor family. Shahbaz claimed that the PML-N government had made quality education available at the doorsteps of common man by opening Daanish schools and during the next five years, the chain of Daanish Schools will be spread to every nook and corner of the country.( Courtesy: The News)

Only a majority government can stabilise the economy

KARACHI: The level of uncertainty in our economy is increasing as the elections come nearer and nearer. In this state of uncertainty, the matter of concern is not only who is going to win, but what economic initiatives they will take.

The current economic meltdown is no doubt a response to our economic managers’ multiple blunders. The crises of governance which lead to institutional collapse are an obvious outcome of a split mandate of political parties which assume power in Pakistan. Dictatorship is an opposite extreme of this phenomenon, where the decision-making power lies in one hand alone, but it can be observed that even military rulers have always surrendered when the time to take a bold decision for the sake of the economy is at hand.

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, which was initiated as early as the 90s, remains to be implemented after almost nine years of dictatorship wherein the sole authority to make such a decision was held in one hand alone. Another example is the building of water reservoirs to tackle long term energy requirements, which has similarly been neglected by successive governments. It can be argued, then, that merely holding the power is not enough for economic development: it should be exercised regardless of internal and external pressures.

It is unfortunate that political parties have often failed to deliver just because of their hanged position in government. When different parties form a coalition government, all parties are considered to be in power, but no party alone has the power to implement its own economic program absolutely to contradictions in economic preferences among the coalition partners.

Similarly, interest groups and lobbies within and outside the government also create hindrances when it comes to implementing economic development agendas. The incessant delay in taxing agricultural income is a perfect example in this regard, where an income of approximately Rs40 trillion contributes only Rs1 billion to the national exchequer. Similarly, tax evasion and theft have also not been eliminated due to the weak administrative writ of successive governments.

There are certain examples in history wherein strong political governments took bold decisions and turned the economic history of the country. The decision to implement land reforms and nationalise industries in the 70s indicate the strength and willpower of an elected government. Similarly, political parties in the 90s came into power with huge mandates, and successively performed relatively better on the economic front.

In contrast, reports of cartelisation in the sugar, cement and other industries shows the weak current position of the government. We are also surrendering on the external front, where lending institutions freely dictate their own conditions for economic reform.

The country seems to be stuck in a cesspool of crises driven by factors like electricity and gas shortages, stagnation of industrial growth, unemployment, deteriorating law and order situation etc. The only way out is a strong political government, which has the will and power to implement its own economic agenda.

(Courtesy: Tribune)

‘Rains damage wheat, cotton sown areas’

LAHORE : The recent rain has badly damaged 0.2 million maund wheat, 0.5 million maund chaff and cotton sown on an area of 0.2 million acres, according to a survey by the Pakistan Agri Forum.
PAF Chairman Dr Muhammad Ibrahim Mughal expressed these views while talking to APP Sunday.  Mughal said that according to reports received from district presidents of the fourm, the storm and rain had affected wheat, chaff, and cotton very badly.  He said that recent rains had not only harmed wheat but also left negative effects on the cotton crop.

He said that cotton seed which was available in the market for Rs 200 per kg had increased and now it was available at Rs 400 per kg.
He also expressed apprehensions that this year, cotton may not be cultivated on 8 million acres of land in the country of cotton was not available to farmers even at the double rate.

(Courtesy: Nation)

Suicide bomber kills eight in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber targeting a police van killed at least eight people in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, including the son and nephew of an Afghan official involved in peace negotiations with the Taliban, officials said.

The bomber was riding a motorcycle and detonated his explosives as the police patrol drove by in Peshawar, said city police chief Liaqat Ali Khan.

The two Afghans who were killed, Qazi Mohammad Hilal Waqad and Mohammad Idrees, were working at their country’s consulate in Peshawar, said Afghan Consul General Syed Mohammad Ibrahim Khel in Islamabad.

However, it did not appear they were the target of the attack, Khel said.

Waqad’s father, Qazi Amin Waqad, is a member of the Afghan High Peace Council, appointed by the Afghan government to hold peace negotiations with the Taliban, said an official at the consulate in Peshawar, Shakir Qarar.

The peace council member was in Afghanistan when the attack occurred, and Waqad and Idrees were driving to work at the time, Qarar added.

There were conflicting reports about the number of dead and wounded from the blast.

Khan, the Peshawar police chief, said the suicide bombing killed eight people and wounded 42.

A rescue worker, Mujahid Khan, said 10 people died and 50 were wounded.

Three policemen were among the wounded, Khan said. Many of the dead and wounded were on a nearby passenger bus, which bore much of the force of the explosion.

Local TV footage showed the wreckage of the bus and the motorcycle, as rescue workers rushed wounded people to hospitals in the city.

No one immediately claimed responsibility, but suspicion will likely to fall on the Pakistani Taliban. The group has been waging a bloody insurgency against the government for years and has stepped up attacks ahead of next month’s parliamentary election.

Also Monday, two gunmen riding a motorcycle attacked a campaign office of an anti-Taliban political party in northwestern Pakistan, killing a worker there, police chief Khan said. The Awami National Party office is in the city of Nowshera.

On Sunday, the Taliban killed 11 people in bomb attacks on a political rally and two campaign offices in the northwest, part of their quest to disrupt the election. The group has killed at least 60 people in attacks on politicians and party workers since the beginning of April.

The Taliban have specifically targeted secular political parties that have supported military offensives against the militants in the northwest. The Taliban have largely spared Islamic parties and others who believe the government should strike a peace deal with the militants, rather than fight them.

There is a concern that the violence could benefit the parties that take a softer line toward the militants, because they are able to campaign more freely ahead of the May 11 election.

“Unless the government, the country’s independent election commission and security forces ensure that all parties can campaign freely without fear, the election may be severely compromised,” Ali Dayan Hasan, the head of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, said in a statement issued Monday.

Bashir Jan, a senior member of the Awami National Party who survived a recent bomb attack in the southern city of Karachi, also criticized the government for not doing enough to protect candidates, but he said they were determined to carry on.

“These attacks will not deter us,” Jan said at a press conference in Karachi. “We are determined to contest elections.” (AP)

(Courtesy: The News)

PML-N rejoinder to IK’s drones for attack on PML-N & demand for In time elections

مسلم لیگ(ن) پرڈرون حملہ کی بات کرکے عمران خان نے ثابت کردیاکہ وہ بعض عناصرکے ایماءپرچھپ چھپ کرپیٹھ میں چھراگھونپنے کی کوشش کررہے ہیں ،ترجمان پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن)
ڈرون حملہ خفیہ ہوتاہے ،عمران خان کے بیان سے ثابت ہوگیاکہ وہ مسلم لیگ(ن) کے خلاف ہونے والی خفیہ سازشوں کاایک کل پرزہ ہے، عمران خان کی مسلم لیگ(ن) پرتنقید اورصرف پنجاب میں مہم چلانااس بات کوظاہرکرتاہے کہ انہیں دوسرے صوبوں میں کامیابی سے کوئی دلچسپی نہیں ۔
نیاپاکستان بنانے کی بات کرنے والاقوم کوگمراہ کررہاہے ،صرف پنجاب میں انتخابی مہم سے کیسے ملک گیرکامیابی ممکن ہوسکتی ہے ؟انہوں نے کہاکہ عمران خان نے کراچی میں جلسہ ملتوی کرکے ثابت کیاکہ اسے وہاں انتخابی عمل سے کوئی دلچسپی نہیں،ایساکرکے عمران خان نے اس تاثرکوتقویت بخشی کہ وہاں کے حالات انتخابات کےلئے نا سازگارہیں۔
عمران خان کودیگرصوبوں انتخابات سے کوئی دلچسپی نہیں ، مسلم لیگ(ن) پاکستان بھرمیں عام انتخابات کاغیرجانبدار،پرامن اورشفاف انعقاد چاہتی ہے اورالیکشن کمیشن اورنگران وزیراعظم سے مطالبہ کرتی ہے کہ وہ اس مقصدکےلئے فضاکوسازگاربنانے کےلئے کوئی دقیقہ فروگزاشت نہ کرے، تمام بحرانوں اورمسائل سے نمبردآزماہونے کاواحدراستہ بروقت انتخابات ہیں ،محمدعاصم خان کی صحافیو ںسے گفتگو

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پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن) کے ترجمان محمدعاصم خان نے کہاہے کہ مسلم لیگ(ن) پرڈرون حملہ کی بات کرکے عمران خان نے ثابت کردیاکہ وہ بعض عناصرکے ایماء پرچھپ چھپ کرپیٹھ میں چھراگھونپنے کی کوشش کررہے ہیں ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ ڈرون حملہ خفیہ ہوتاہے ،عمران خان کے بیان سے ثابت ہوگیاکہ وہ مسلم لیگ(ن) کے خلاف ہونے والی خفیہ سازشوں کاایک کل پرزہ ہے۔ترجمان نے کہاکہ عمران خان کی مسلم لیگ(ن) پرتنقید اورصرف پنجاب میں مہم چلانااس بات کوظاہرکرتاہے کہ انہیں دوسرے صوبوں میں کامیابی سے کوئی دلچسپی نہیں ۔پاکستان مسلم لیگ (ن) کے ترجمان محمدعاصم خان نے ان خیالات کااظہاراسلام آبادمیں صحافیوں سے گفتگوکرتے ہوئے کیا۔ترجمان نے کہاکہ نیاپاکستان بنانے کی بات کرنے والاقوم کوگمراہ کررہاہے ،صرف پنجاب میں انتخابی مہم سے کیسے ملک گیرکامیابی ممکن ہوسکتی ہے ؟انہوں نے کہاکہ عمران خان نے کراچی میں جلسہ ملتوی کرکے ثابت کیاکہ اسے وہاں انتخابی عمل سے کوئی دلچسپی نہیں ،ایساکرکے عمران خان نے اس تاثرکوتقویت بخشی کہ وہاں کے حالات انتخابات کےلئے نا سازگارہیں ۔ترجمان نے کہاکہ عمران خان کودیگرصوبوں انتخابات سے کوئی دلچسپی نہیں ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ مسلم لیگ(ن) پاکستان بھرمیں عام انتخابات کاغیرجانبدار،پرامن اورشفاف انعقاد چاہتی ہے اورالیکشن کمیشن اورنگران وزیراعظم سے مطالبہ کرتی ہے کہ وہ اس مقصدکےلئے فضاکوسازگاربنانے کےلئے کوئی دقیقہ فروگزاشت نہ کرے ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ تمام بحرانوں اورمسائل سے نمبردآزماہونے کاواحدراستہ بروقت انتخابات ہیں ۔

‘We made country N-power, not just played cricket’

FAISALABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif has said that his party has not merely played cricket but have made the country a nuclear power and the PML-N have made all arrangements to form the next government in the country.

He expressed these views while addressing a mammoth public meeting at the Municipal Stadium Jaranwala, about 35 kilometers from here on Saturday.

Nawaz highlighted the achievements of his previous two tenures as prime minister and said if the PML-N had been allowed to complete its tenures, Pakistan would have been put on the road to progress.

The PML-N president said that the party would win the general elections as the masses wanted to see the PML-N in power.

Nawaz said that he made the country an atomic power but ill-conceived and unwise policies pushed the country into crises.

He said that power loadshedding in the country had made the lives of the people miserable and damaged the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

He said that the energy crisis had also left unprecedented unemployment, lawlessness and poverty, adding that the country was facing one of the lowest economic growths which had further aggravated the problems of the masses.

He said, “The PML-N has always rendered commendable services to improve socio-economic conditions and it has taken all decisions strictly on merit.”

He said that the PML-N would also strive hard for the well-being of the masses, instead of any personal gains, after coming to power.

He said, “We always spoke the truth with the nation. When the people of south Punjab were facing the worst floods, we supported them without any discrimination. It was Shahbaz Sharif who installed a base camp there in the flood-hit areas and focused his full attention on the rehabilitation of the people.”

He said that the nation might make an assessment by observing the ads on TV screens which party contributed to the well-being of the nation and which political group neglected and rejected the masses.

He said that he had not come to Jaranwala for votes; rather, his mission was to make the people understand about their well wishers and ill-wishers.

Nawaz said that the rural areas would be uplifted with welfare projects. Farmers would be provided with cheap fertilizers and seeds.

PML-N candidate from NA-76 Talal Chaudhry and others also addressed the public.

Nawaz Sharif said that his party if given a chance in the May 11 elections, would turn the country into an economic giant.

Nawaz Sharif announced he would establish a network of employment banks throughout the country after coming to power to advance credit to youth for establishing their own businesses.

The PML-N chief said as against corruption, loot and plunder by others‚ the PML-N government in Punjab set a model of good governance and merit.

He said the PML-N after coming into power would upgrade Jaranwala as a district and also connect it with the Motorway.

Referring to the Punjab chief minister, he said that Shahbaz completed great projects for the masses without any discrimination.

He said it was regrettable to say that factories had closed due to the energy crisis; millions of workers were bound to wander in the streets without any jobs. There was an unending chain of protests, demonstrations in the country. “The question is who is responsible for this chaotic situation,” asked Nawaz.

He said, “History records that India used to beg for electricity from Pakistan. This credit goes to the PML-N government.”

He said that the dictator who toppled his government was actually the enemy of the nation. “I was put behind bars without any justification. In this way, the direction of the country was changed in wrong way, leaving the people at the mercy of the fate,” he said.

He said that some politicians were chanting slogans of change. Actually they had no vision and programme. They were trapping the youth just for their personal aims.

“PML-N is being targeted for taking turns; the reality is that we served the nation without any personal interest. We introduced new technology in the country. We installed industry and constructed a network of road across Pakistan” said PML-N chief.

He said that the PML-N had a team of experts who had the ability to cope with challenges and could resolve the issues being faced by the nation on a priority basis.

“If the PML-N is given an opportunity to serve the nation, it would lay the foundation of agricultural and industrial units, multiply the ratio of exports, create millions of jobs for workers and labourers who are real force of the nation”, said Nawaz.

He said that educated people would be given micro loans so that unemployed youth might be able to earn their living with respectable means.

He said that Pakistan had been overwhelmed by stumbling blocks and tremendous problems but by the grace of Allah they would overcome these issues with the cooperation of sincere voters and supporters.

He appealed to the people to support the PML-N candidate from Jaranwala, with the hope that the new leaders would serve the people without any discrimination.

(Courtesy: The News)

PTI, PPP, Q in collusion to defeat PML- N: Shahbaz Shahrif

WARBURTON – PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif has reiterated his pledge to end loadshedding in two years if their party is voted to power in centre, though he said he was not a supernatural being who can end power outages overnight.
Addressing a public rally in Warburton area of Nankana Sahib, he said the major issue of Pakistan was electricity. The former chief minister alleged that Imran Khan was blaming him for loadshedding but actually daily 700MW electricity of Punjab was going out of the Punjab.
Shahbaz appealed the nation not let the vote be divided on May 11 as vote for PTI chief Imran Khan would benefit People’s Party. He said speeches of Imran, President Asif Zardari and PML-Q leaders were similar in content, all of them targeting ‘the most popular party’. Addressing the meeting arranged by MPL-N candidates for MNA and MPA slots, Bilal Ahmad Virk and Kashif Rang Elahi Padhiar, he said that today “Teer” and “Balla” were riding on punctured “Cycle”, alluding to an alleged secret collusion of PPP, PTI and PML-Q against the PML-N.
Criticising outgoing PPP government, he said that the electricity generating machinery of sixty million rupees kept corroding in Karachi for the last two years and people had been into ‘darkness’ while Zardari and Company looted the pilgrims and filled their pockets thorough corruption in rental power projects, PIA, Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills.
He said that millions of laptops and solar panels were distributed among youth purely on merit to boost education sector in Punjab. Small farmers were awarded 30,000 tractors to promote agriculture in the province, he added. At the end of the public meeting, Malik Javed Iqbal Wattoo, an independent candidate from PP-168 and Malik Yasir Wattoo, announced to join PML-N and support Bilal Ahmad Virk in the elections. Earlier when Shahbaz arrived, people gathered around his helicopter with placard, banners and pamphlets. They welcomed him with chants of “Sher aa gya, Sher aa gya”. District management had disallowed a political gathering in open space, therefore, local political leadership arranged a corner meeting in a factory’s boundary but it soon converted into a huge gathering.

(Courtesy: Nation)