Subsidized power tariff to be introduced for consumers: Abid Sher Ali

ISLAMABAD, Jul 29 (APP): Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali has said that government will introduce subsidized tariff for electricity users consuming up to 250 units per month to provide relief to the poor.In an interview, the minister said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will soon announce the energy policy, a private news channel reported.He said PML-N government’s priority is to end power theft and ensure its smooth supply to public and industry.He said the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will soon inaugurate a new 5000 Megawatts electricity project in Gadani.Abid Sher Ali said the government will not tolerate any institutional corruption and operation against culprits involved in energy theft will be accelerated.He claimed 70 percent crisis would be overcome if government minimizes the line losses.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

CM briefed the PM about the proposed local bodies system in Punjab

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday and discussed the strategy for presidential elections in the Punjab Assembly.
They decided to convene a provincial parliamentary party meeting today (Monday) which would be addressed by PML-N presidential candidate Mamnoon Hussain. The chief minister also briefed the prime minister about the proposed documents for local government elections in the province. The prime minister asked the chief minister to devise a local government system which devolves maximum powers at the grass roots level, resolves problems of the people and ensures prosperity. Speaking on this occasion, the prime minister expressed satisfaction over the campaign against electricity and gas theft in Punjab and asked the chief minister to speed up the campaign against power thieves. Chief Minister Shahbaz briefed the prime minister about the proposed local bodies system in Punjab. Sources have informed Online that strict and explicit directives have been given to the PML-N MNAs after the announcement of the presidential election that they should not proceed on any foreign tour, Umrah and also avoid Aitakaf sittings since all such activities could jeopardise the members’ presidential vote.
and the PML-N. agencies. (Courtesy: Daily Times)

PM condoles demise of Khurshid Shah’s sister

ISLAMABAD, July 28 (APP): Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif Sunday expressed grief over the sad demise of sister of former PPP minister Syed Khurshid Shah who died in Sukkur after a protracted illness. Prime Minister Sharif in a message prayed to Allah Almighty to bless the departed soul and for courage to the bereaved family to bear the loss with courage.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

Govt utilising resources to facilitate people: CM

LAHORE, July 28 (APP): Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said people have given a historic mandate to the Muslim League-N in the recent general elections. He said nothing was important for the government than welfare of the masses and all out resources were being utilized for this purpose. He said work had been started expeditiously with the cooperation of China on the projects of low-cost power generation through alternative resources. He expressed these views while talking to assembly members belonging to various districts here on Sunday. The chief minister said besides gap in demand and supply of electricity, theft of gas and power was also a serious issue.

He said on the instructions of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, elements involved in the theft of electricity and gas were being dealt with sternly and a crackdown had been launched on gas and electricity thieves in Punjab.
He said no leniency would be shown to such black sheep. He said clear instructions had been issued to administrative machinery to disregard every pressure in the action against gas and power thieves.
The chief minister said those who were causing a loss of billions of rupees to the country in the existing energy crisis deserved no sympathy.
He said assembly members should play leading role in the drive against electricity and gas thieves.
Essential items as well as fruits and vegetables are being provided to the masses at low rates at 350 Ramazan bazaars set up in the province under Ramazan package and instructions had been issued to district and divisional administrative officers to ensure supply of quality food items.
Shahbaz Sharif also directed assembly members to visit Ramazan bazaars in their respective areas to supervise the steps taken for the provision of essential commodities to the masses at cheaper rate.
He said missing facilities would be provided in all schools of South Punjab during the current year. He said priorities announced in the budget of the new fiscal year reflect the manifesto of PML-N and the vision of Punjab government.
He said Allah Almighty had given an opportunity of public service to present leadership and elected representatives should try their best to resolve problems of people.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

Minister directs police to check black marketing of tickets

LAHORE, July 28 (APP): Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has directed the police and vigilance to ensure the check of black-marketing of tickets. Briefing the APP after a high official meeting of the PR administration at the PR headquarters here on Sunday, he said that it was decided in the meeting that additional police and booking staff would be deployed to protect the passengers from long queues. He said that operation of more freight trains was also reviewed in the meeting and more freight trains would soon be introduced. He hoped the reduction in rail fares would yield good results and low income passengers would return to the trains. He said a special operation under the supervision of PR Inspector General Ibne Hussain had been launched to retrieve property of the railways. PR General Manager Operations Anjum Pervaiz, Additional General Manager Traffic Javaid Anwar Boobak, IG Ibne Hussain and other senior officers were also present.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

Solution of energy crisis, terrorism is govt top priority: Pervaiz Rashid

ISLAMABAD, July 28 (APP): Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid on Sunday said that Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) government’s top priority was to resolve energy crisis and maintain peace and stability in the country. He said that maintenance of law and order situation and solution of energy crisis was essential to bring foreign investment and economic stability in the country. Pervaiz Rashid said that Pakistan Peoples Party’s boycott of presidential election was not the last option, they could have gone for a review petition in the court to get a new date for election. The Information Minister said that the government would implement decisions of the superior courts in letter and spirit.

Talking to a private television channel, he said that both the parties had signed the charter of democracy, which should be followed for the continuity and stability of democratic system in the country.
Pervaiz Rashid said that the government desired to have consensus among all stakeholders to effectively tackle the challenges faced by the country.
Replying to a question, he said that the government believed in the policy of dialogue to ensure stability of democracy and democratic institutions in the country.
Pervaiz Rashid said that government wanted to resolve all the challenges with the consensus of all political stakeholders to get national ownership on all major issues.
He said that in the past democracy was derailed by the non- democratic forces, which destabilized the democratic institutions in the country.
Replying to a question, he said that restoration of the 1973 Constitution and constitutional reforms for provincial autonomy was a landmark achievement of all the political parties in past regime.
He said that central government had fully cooperated with all the provincial governments and got their opinion in policy matters too.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

Black sheep to be transferred to remote areas: Abid Sher

FAISALABAD, July 28 (APP): State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali has warned black sheep to mend their ways otherwise they would be transferred to the far-flung areas. He was addressing a public gathering on his arrival at his hometown after taking over the oath of State Minister. He was accorded a rousing welcome by the PML-N workers and local elite. He said that PML-N government was committed to end load shedding and in this connection crackdown has already been started against the power pilferers. He termed power pilferers as national enemies who were playing with the national interests.

He said that he had identified the black sheep present within the folds of various distribution companies and those would not be spared.
He said that we have identified 6 major black sheep of Sukkur Electric Supply Company and they have already been transferred to Balochistan.
He said that he would have a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah over this issue and request him to initiate a crackdown against power pilferers of this province.
He said that he would also provide the chief minister a list of power pilferers for proceeding against them.
He said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will soon announce 4000 megawatts electricity projects which would help overcome load shedding.
He stated that Pakistan would start getting LNG from Qatar from January 2014. This will help government to provide much needed gas to the industrial sector from 15 to 20 days in a month.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

Pakistan desires strong, cooperative relations with the US: PM

ISLAMABAD, Jul 26 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday said Pakistan desired strong and cooperative relationship with the United States of America and would support any initiative for peace in Afghanistan. Talking to the US Ambassador to Islamabad Richard Olson, the Prime Minister also reiterated Pakistan’s full commitment to all initiatives designed to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan. The meeting, held ahead of the visit of US Secretary of State John F. Kerry who is likely to visit Pakistan in next few days, the Prime Minister shared with the Ambassador the outcome of recent visit of his Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs to Kabul.
“The Prime Minister also conveyed to Ambassador Olson that he looked forward to receive Secretary Kerry and in addition to sharing views on the present state of the relationship, also wanted to share a vision of bilateral relations in the future,” a statement from the PM House said.
The Ambassador shared with the Prime Minister US priorities relating to the visit and also took the opportunity to brief the Prime Minister on Pakistan-US relations and the regional situation.
The meeting was also attended by Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar and Prime Minister Special Assistant on National Security and Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

Ahsan Iqbal meets USAID, Asian Development Bank delegations

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal here on Thursday met two delegations of USAID and Asian Development Bank.
Minister during the meeting with USAID appreciated the step taken by Congress to approve feasibility study of Diamer Basha Dam. He added that Pakistan is water scarce country with a few water storage facilities.
Minister said that being a semiarid country this project is vital for food security of the country also. This is a big breakthrough not only in energy sector but also for our agriculture.
Delegation of USAID was led by Gregory Gottlieb mission director USAID and other delegation was led by Klaus Gerheausser, director general (Central Asia Region) Asian Development Bank.
Gottlieb appreciated the vision which deputy chairman had foreseen for planning commission in general to revamp it and particularly for the country in the form of vision 2025 and five year plan.
He told the representative that we have two priority areas right now which are Vision 2025 and Five Year plan 2013-18. He further told that he has seven guiding principles to achieve a milestone of developed Pakistan.
First of all, energy is our first priority, second one is shift of patterns of growth of economy from loans and aids to export and resource mobilization.
In this regard, tax reforms and promoting environment of investment would be a key element of economic policy.
Gottlieb appreciated the ideas of the Minister and assured his full support for the development of Pakistan. He assured his interest in providing financial and technical support for food security of Pakistan and further proposed some ideas for improvement of livestock and agriculture sector of the country.
He also pledged to continue cooperation in building water reservoirs and in energy sector.
In the other meeting held with the delegation of Asian Development Bank (ADB), Federal Minister told that Pakistan has greatly benefitted from studies conducted by the help of ADB in 2010.
He told the director general (Central Asian Region) ADB that they were transforming Planning Commission into a strategic think-tank which would serve an early warning system for the future needs of the growing population.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

PR Minister announces up to 57% reduction in train fares

LAHORE, July 27 (APP): Pakistan Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has announced up to 57 per cent reduction in fares of different trains at specific sections. In a press conference here on Saturday, the minister announced minimum fare of Rs 20 instead of Rs 35 at all branch lines and said the PR would try to bear any expected increase in electricity or fuel prices. He said the decision of fare reduction had been taken after an experiment of such reduction in railcars and Jaffer Express trains at Lahore- Rawalpindi sections which produced positive results and the PR had received better revenue and number of passengers. However, he said the facility of reduction in fare had been provided temporarily for three months and hoped positive improvement due to the decision.

Talking about the Gujranwala train accident, the minister said that driver of the train had been captured and raids were being conducted to arrest the assistant driver who had been declared responsible for the accident in basic inquiry report, however, he added the other aspect of the accident were also under observation and soon would be opened after receiving detailed report.
He also announced to operate Eid special trains on the eve of Eid Ul Fitr, however, number and destinations would be informed later.
Khawaja Saad told the media that revenue collection had also been improved due to freight operation by increasing the number of trains up to three instead of one.
He appreciated the mechanical department which added more locomotives in the system after repair and now 22 locomotives had been operational.
He vowed the number of freight trains would be five by the end of the present fiscal year as one freight train earned upto Rs one billion to Rs 1.25 billion and it caused the reduction of the PR deficit.
Commenting on the punctuality, the minister admitted the issue of punctuality of trains could not be overcome due to the shortage and poor condition of locomotives as well as shortage of passenger coaches. However, he vowed that punctuality of the trains would be ensured atleast 80 percent by the end of the fiscal year 2013-14.
He thanked the Punjab government for depositing Rs 300 million in the account of the Railways from its claim of Rs 3 billion and said that discussion for settlement of other amount was under process.
He also told the media that an amount of Rs 1.570 billion had also been recovered which had been deposited for letter of credit for the purchase of 75 locomotives from a chinese company as the agreement had been cancelled.
To a question, he said all those elements who remained involved in damaging the Railways would be dealt with an iron hand but just after the posting of a permanent NAB chairman.
He also claimed the PR would be run purely on merit basis and not a single approach would be entertained.
PR General Manager Anjum Pervaiz, PR Additional GM Traffic Javaid Anwar, Inspector General Railways Police Ibne Hussain and other senior officers were also present in the press conference.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)