QADIRPUR, Aug 24 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday directed all the provincial governments to enhance their preparedness to meet with flood threats in the wake of more rains predicted for September and ensure necessary measures for relief and rehabilitation of the affected population. Talking to media persons during his visit to the flood-hit areas of Sindh, the Prime Minister said that besides Sindh, the recent rains had affected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and some localities of the Balochistan province also.
He said that more rains had been forecast for September and both the federal and the provincial governments should jointly work to cope with the floods.
He said that several families had been shifted to safe places and their villages had been inundated. He expressed grief over the loss of nine lives and some cattleheads in Sukkur area and sympathized with the aggrieved families.
The Prime Minister, however, said that the losses were far lesser than those inflicted by the 2010 floods. He directed the authorities concerned to ensure provision of tents, ration and medicine to the affected families.
“In case water level increases due to predicted rains, we should be prepared to tackle the situation. Besides the Sindh government, I direct Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other provincial governments to make preparations. The Federal Government will consider as to how it can assist the provinces in this regard,” said the Prime Minister.
To a question about the economic corridor linking Gwadar with China, Prime Minister Sharif said that a Chinese team would visit Pakistan in a couple of days to discuss the project.
The project is in preliminary stage as its alignment is being worked out, he added.
He said that he wanted to launch the project as soon as possible because it was vital for the country’s progress and prosperity.
Regarding the Gadani Power Park Project, the Prime Minister said it would generate 6,600 megawatts electricity through 10 plants. Some key decisions have been taken at the steering committee meeting held earlier in day at Hub, to ensure completion of the project on fast-track basis, he added.
When asked about the menace of terrorism, the Prime Minister said the government authorities and security institutions were jointly working out a comprehensive policy on the issue.
Earlier, the Prime Minister took an aerial view of the flood-hit areas in Ghotki and distributed relief goods among the affected people.
The Prime Minister was also briefed about the flood situation where the authorities concerned also complained lack of funds to improve the canal system and protect the embankments.
Earlier on arrival at the Sukkur Airport, the Prime Minister was received by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)
SUKKUR, Aug. 24 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said that the Federal Government would not spare any effort to provide relief to the flood victims and rehabilitate them as early as possible. He was speaking in a briefing at Shank Bund after taking an aerial view of the flood hit areas of Ghotki district. The Prime Minister was briefed by the authorities concerned regarding the flood situation, losses and the steps taken for the rescue and relief of the affacted people.
Later, he met the flood victims. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Secretary Irrigation Babar Afandi and Commissioner Sukkur Dr Niaz Abassi were also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister assured the affected people that the government would provide them all possible assistance for their relief and rehabilitation.
The Prime Minister, who arrived here to have a first hand account of the devastation caused by the floods, took an aerial view of the different devastated areas of Ghotki district.
He also directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the federal and provincial governments to utilize all available resources to provide relief to the affected people.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)
HUB (Balochistan), Aug 24 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif here on Saturday chaired the first meeting of the Steering Committee for Development of Pakistan Power Park, Gadani to oversee and facilitate the development of 6,600 MW coal-fired power park at Gadani. The meeting was attended by Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar. Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources was represented by Jam Kamal, who is the Minister of State, Special Assistant to PM Mussadaq Malik and Shaukat Tareen.
Secretary Water and Power Saifullah Chatta gave a briefing on the occasion.
An official later said that the steering committee was briefed about the salient features of the project and the progress made so far.
The meeting approved the Government of Balochistan’s participation in the project as an equity partner.
The Prime Minister appreciated the progress made so far and the efforts of the Ministry of Water and Power under the leadership of the Minister for Water and Power and the Secretary.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Maalik Baloch, who is a member of the Steering Committee, thanked the Prime Minister for his initiative in this regard and his continued personal interest in the project.
He assured the full support of provincial government and the local people’s representatives for the successful and timely completion of the project.
The Chief Minister further offered to invest beyond the agreed equity and become a bigger partner in the project.
The Prime Minister instructed to fast-track the project development procedures and arrange road shows in Pakistan and abroad to create awareness and attract investment in the project.
The Federal Finance Minister appreciated the results so far and assured continued support by his ministry.
The Prime Minister shared with the participants of the meeting the immense investors’ interest in the project and appreciation over the Government of Pakistan’s approach to solve the energy crisis and the importance given to this project by it.
He said that there should not be any unnecessary delays in the project and that no delay would be tolerated on the timeframe.
The Ministry of Finance was instructed to release the funds as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister also accorded approval for the appointment of focal persons for the project in various government organisations.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)
ISLAMABAD, Aug 23 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that his government would produce a new national security strategy in the next “few weeks” to tackle the challenge of terrorism and extremism. “We are fighting all these elements because look at what they’ve done in different parts of the country. More than 40,000 people have lost their lives in this battle against terror,” the Prime Minister said in an interview with The Telegraph, a leading British newspaper.
In the interview, pasted on The Telegraph’s website, the Prime Minister in response to a question said: “Of course we’re fighting each other.”
“I believe that there may be no harm in exploring the other option of having dialogue with them if they’re at all serious, and if we find them serious enough – and if we think that talks can yield positive results,” he added.
The Prime Minister said: “Britain had to talk to the IRA and resolve the problem and so to explore this option, I think, is not a bad idea.”
To another question, the Prime Minister described the drone attacks on the Afghan frontier as the No 1 “irritant”, adding: “The drones are counter-productive, they are violating our sovereignty and we must respect each other’s territorial sovereignty and if the drones are challenging our sovereignty this is not a fair thing.”
About Pak-India relations, the Prime Minister told The Telegraph: “There will be progress and there has to be progress. If we have to prosper, there has to be progress on this.”
He said, “We didn’t have any India-bashing slogans in the elections. We don’t believe in such slogans. There have been such slogans in the past – 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago – but not now. In fact, I very clearly spoke about good relations with India even before the elections were happening.”
The Prime Minister added, “I made my position very clear: if we get a mandate, we will make sure we pick up the threads from where we left off in 1999 and then reach out to India, sit with them, resolve all our outstanding issues, including the issue of Kashmir, through peaceful means.”
To a question about the PML-N’s performance during the 1990 to 1993, the Prime Minister said, “We did deliver. We were able to meet the expectations of the people to some extent. That is why we were re-elected in 1997 and that is why we have been re-elected in 2013.”
“If I take you back to the ‘90s, our party came up with very bold reforms in the country, economic reforms. They were really revolutionary reforms,” he added.
About the PML-N’s economic reforms policies during the 1990 to 1993, the Prime Minister said, “India was taken aback, frankly. India felt that India must also have same reforms in India as Pakistan.”
“There was tremendous pressure on the Indian government, I know, that India should also copy the reforms that Pakistan has introduced,” he added.
To another question as if he was the same Nawaz Sharif who ran Pakistan in the Nineties?, the Prime Minister said, “I am the same politician who’s trying to pick up the threads of where I left off.”
“You can call it continuity; you can call it change that still continues and we are now going to make sure that we take it to its logical conclusion,” he responded to another query.
About the good work he did in the Nineties, the Prime Minister said, “That was my humble contribution and I will continue to make that humble contribution. We hope that work will also start soon, that we will have a motorway from the northern regions of Pakistan right down to Karachi.”
To a question, the Prime Minister said, that when David Cameron rang with his congratulations, (after the victory in elections) he named his “first three priorities” as “number one economy, number two economy, number three economy”.
Replying to a question about the government’s plans to reform the country’s tax system, the Prime Minister said, “We will have to lower the taxes in the country, the income tax, corporate tax and all the taxes.”
“There is a lot of leakage in our taxes, it is said that it’s somewhere between 500 and 1,000 billion rupees,” he added.
The Prime Minister while responding to a question about leakage in tax said, “It’s not easy to plug this leakage. We are in the process of doing that. I think this exercise will take some time. We’ve been just been in office for eight to nine weeks. We are very conscious of this problem,” he added.
To another question, the Prime Minister said, “I have to make sure we do the right things. We have to make sure we tread the right path, pursue the right policies – and not make any mistakes.”
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)
Minister for Railways Saad Rafique said around 67 per cent of the country’s rail track was overage and so was its entire locomotives fleet and signaling system.
The Prime Minister also proposed construction of a new airport for Islamabad at Rawat, construction of new tunnels, train links and roads across thecountry.
The Prime Minister, however, noted that the economic activity in thecountry could only be generated once there was peace and tranquility.
He mentioned the recent deliberations of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet that discussed the issue of extremism and terrorism and said there was also a need to address the energy crisis on urgent basis.
The prime Minister stressed the importance of a meaningful interaction and said it will help address all issues. He said the importance of dialogue could not be ruled out.
He said the country could not progress unless law and order situation improved and said it would pave the way for economic prosperity.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recalled his Chinese visit where the Chinese side expressed concerns about security situation in Pakistan.
He said Pakistan had to tender apologies for the killings of Chinese nationals in terror-related incidents.
“How long will we tender apologies? We need to rectify the wrongdoing,” thePrime Minister said.
Referring to the Economic Corridor, the Prime Minister said both sides were taking keen interest in the project as not only China but the entire region would benefit from this mega project.
He said Pakistan-China Economic Corridor was future of the country. Herecalled his earlier meetings which discussed the Trade Corridor from Kashgar to Khunjerab and Gwadar and in principal, approved the proposed alignment of Pak-China Trade Corridor, with the directions to further evaluate the proposalin terms of time and cost efficiency.
He said out of world’s six billion population this region housed three billion and the project would prove beneficial for the whole region.
He said the Gwadar Port would help reduce the time needed for transportation of Chinese exports from 16 to 4 days, besides reducing the costconsiderably.
Prime Minister said that as the mega project would go through underdeveloped areas of Pakistan, it would also help develop those areas and bringthem at par with the developed ones. It would connect all the provinces and all the regions would equally reap the benefits of the project.
He said the existing Motorways could be handed over to the private sectorto generate around Rs 250 billion annually that would help fund construction of new roads. The Prime Minister directed that the existing and the new motorways be linked with the highways to improve connectivity.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the government has to revive country’senergy sector, improve law and order situation, eliminate extremism to bring the country back on track of progress.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the proposed tunnel through theMargalla hills to link Islamabad with Haripur would provide a shorter route tothe commuters of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mansehra and Abbottabad.
He said the Islamabad Expressway would be extended up to Muzaffarabad andLower Topa – Havellian portion would be soon built. He added that theIslamabad-Muzaffarabad Expressway project was his vision and it had been plannedin his previous government.
He also pointed that the new airport being constructed near Fatehjang haddesign faults and there was a need to have a new airport near Rawat that would be linked with Islamabad and Rawalpindi through train links and an expressway.
The road between Zero Point and Rawat would be built like Shaikh Zaid Road in Dubai having business and residential centers along it, he added.
He said there was no space in the budget for such huge projects, however there was a need to have out-of-the box solutions to auction the land, along this highway in a transparent manner and generate funds.
He said similar projects could be conceived in Lahore and Karachi,including the underground Metro service in the two cities and said China had evinced keen interest to fund these projects. He said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was already thinking of such a project.
The Prime Minister said all these projects could be implemented and werefeasible and could turn around the national economy.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar pointed that the Pakistan Economic Corridor alignment must keep in view the future hydel projects like the Bhasha and Dasu dams, so that there was no need to change their designs in future.
Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) in his briefing said Pakistan owing to its geo-strategic location could provide linkages with the Central Asian Republics, the Gulf countries and China.
He said there was a proposal to have a new alignment of the Khunjrab-Gwader road so as to create linkages with new areas and generate economic opportunities.
He said that the distances would be reduced by construction of bridges and tunnels along the Karakorum Highway.
It was estimated that the distance of the Karakoram Highway could be shortened by 150 km through its improvement. The meeting was also informed that a 15 km long tunnel could be built near the Babusar Top at a height of 11,500 feet.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatmi, and senior officials.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)
ISLAMABAD, Aug 23 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday visited Intelligence Bureau Headquarters here, said a press release. During the visit, he was briefed on the issues of national and external security in detail. The Prime Minister approved different proposals and recommendations to build the capacity of the organization through better human resource intake and procurement of state-of-the-art equipment. The Prime Minister also exempted the Intelligence Bureau from ban on recruitment keeping in view the sensitive nature of its job and urgency of current security situation. The Prime Minister was also briefed on counter terrorism initiatives and activities of the organization. Ministers for Interior, Finance and Information & Broadcasting also attended the briefing.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that government was working under a comprehensive plan for resolving energy crisis and other problems being faced by the country.
He said efforts were being made expeditiously for overcoming shortage of energy. He was talking to a delegation led by Vice President of World Bank Philippe Le Houerou that met him in Islamabad on Friday.
He said initial work had been started for setting up Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Cholistan area of south Punjab and approval had been given for establishment of an autonomous company in this regard.
He said measures were being taken for generation of electricity from hydal, thermal as well as alternative resources. The chief minister said load-shedding had been reduced substantially after repayment of circular debt of Rs 480 billion in energy sector.
He said stern action was being taken against the elements involved in power and gas theft and a number of factory owners had also been arrested.
The chief minister stressed upon the World Bank to provide help and assistance in education, health, infrastructure especially energy sector and cooperate with the government in construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam for generation of hydle power.
Vice President of World Bank Isabel M. Guerriro, Country Director Rashid Bin Masood, Operations Advisor Reynold Duncan, other officials of the World Bank as well as Provincial Energy Minister Ch. Sher Ali Khan, Chairman Planning and Development Irfan Elahi, Secretary Finance Jehanzeb Khan, Secretary Energy Usman Bajwa, Secretary Health Hassan Iqbal and Secretary Irrigation Zahid Saeed were also present on the occasion.
Talking to the high level World Bank delegation, the chief minister said the Punjab government had made a sincere effort to provide relief to investors, cultivators and the common man through load management of electricity and encouraging results had been witnessed.
He said a favourable atmosphere was being created for investment in the province while all-out encouragement was being extended to foreign investors.
He said that local and foreign investors had expressed keen interest in setting up solar energy projects in Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Cholistan area of south Punjab.
The chief minister further said the government had made planning for generation of 2000 megawatt electricity initially at the park. He said that the target of 100 percent literacy will be achieved in Punjab within next few years. Sharif said that Punjab government was paying attention to labour intensive investment and efforts were being made for poverty alleviation through imparting vocational and technical training to youth so as to make them self-reliant.
He further said the government was also paying attention for promotion and investment in garments industry and investors will be provided all-out facilities under one-window operation for this purpose. Sharif further said that government was formulating a policy for eradication of terrorism and a favourable atmosphere will be provided for revival and development of economy through maintenance of law and order.
Vice President of World Bank Philippe Le Houerour, while speaking on the occasion, said provision of all-out cooperation and assistance of World Bank will be considered for development of energy, education, health and infrastructure sectors in Pakistan including Punjab.
(Courtesy: Daily Times)
عوام نے ضمنی انتخابات میں ایک بارپھرمسلم لیگ(ن) پراعتمادکااظہارکرکے ہماری پالیسیوں کی تائیدکردی،سینیٹرمشاہداللہ خان
ہم نے قومی اسمبلی کی تین نشتیں چھوڑی تھیں جبکہ ضمنی انتخابات میں ہمیں قومی اسمبلی کی پانچ نشتوں پرکامیابی ملی جس پراللہ اورپاکستان کے عوام کے شکرگزارہیں۔
انتہائی کھٹن اورمعاشی لحاظ سے نامسائدحالات کے باﺅجودمسلم لیگ(ن) کی حکومت عوام کوریلیف پہنچانے کی کوشش کررہی ہے ۔
بجلی اورگیس مہنگاکرنے کاطعنہ دینے والوں نے اپنے دوراقتدارمیں توانائی کے متبادل ذرائع تلاش کئے اورنہ ہی سستے ذرائع سے بجلی پیداکرنے کے کسی منصوبے پرکام کاآغازکیا۔
مسلم لیگ(ن) کی حکومت نہ صرف بجلی کی پیداوارمیں اضافے کے لئے نئے منصوبوں کے قیام پرکام کررہی ہے بلکہ موجودہ پیداواری ےونٹس کوسستے ذرائع پرمنتقل کرنے کی بھی حکمت عملی پرعمل پیراہے،مرکزی سیکرٹری اطلاعات پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن
پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن) کے مرکزی سیکرٹری اطلاعات سینیٹرمشاہداللہ خان نے کہاہے کہ عوام نے ضمنی انتخابات میں ایک بارپھرمسلم لیگ(ن) پراعتمادکااظہارکرکے ہماری پالیسیوں کی تائیدکردی ہے۔انہوں نے کہاکہ ہم نے قومی اسمبلی کی تین نشتیں چھوڑی تھیں جبکہ ضمنی انتخابات میں ہمیں قومی اسمبلی کی پانچ نشتوں پرکامیابی ملی جس پراللہ اورپاکستان کے عوام کے شکرگزارہیں ۔مشاہداللہ خان نے کہاکہ انتہائی کھٹن اورمعاشی لحاظ سے نامسائدحالات کے باﺅجودمسلم لیگ(ن) کی حکومت عوام کوریلیف پہنچانے کی کوشش کررہی ہے ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ بجلی اورگیس مہنگاکرنے کاطعنہ دینے والوں نے اپنے دوراقتدارمیں توانائی کے متبادل ذرائع تلاش کئے اورنہ ہی سستے ذرائع سے بجلی پیداکرنے کے کسی منصوبے پرکام کاآغازکیا۔مشاہداللہ خان نے کہاکہ جب بجلی کے پیداواری ےونٹس میں پٹرول ،ڈیزل ےافرنس آئل جیسی مہنگی مصنوعات ہونگی توعوام کوسستی بجلی کی فراہمی کاسوال ہی پیدانہیں ہوتا۔انہوں نے کہاکہ مسلم لیگ(ن) کی حکومت نہ صرف بجلی کی پیداوارمیں اضافے کے لئے نئے منصوبوں کے قیام پرکام کررہی ہے بلکہ موجودہ پیداواری ےونٹس کوسستے ذرائع پرمنتقل کرنے کی بھی حکمت عملی پرعمل پیراہے ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ وہ دن دورنہیں جب نہ صرف بجلی وافرمقدارمیں میسرہوگی بلکہ آئے روزبجلی کی قیمتوں میں اضافے سے بھی نجات حاصل ہوجائے گی ۔
The first impression formed after hearing Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif’s speech is that honest leaders are the hope of any nation. They are the ones who try to find ways to address its problems sincerely, instead of misleading people with false pledges. Human history is rather witness to the fact that nations led by such leaders have met tremendous successes by not only achieving the set goals, but also in coping with the most difficult challenges.
Leaders like PM Nawaz are certainly a permanent source of inspiration for a depressed nation that has had enough of terrorism, loadshedding, unemployment, and myriad problems of other nature. His address is not only a wake-up call for both the leaders and the led, but also a solemn pledge that things would be put back on track. He said: “Not a single moment has passed in the last two and a half months that I have not reflected on how to meet the present challenges.”
Those who have watched the PML-N government functionaries, including the PM, during this period will agree in totality with his statement. It is working day and night with a sense of direction, accompanied with intelligent application of mind that is the driving force behind sound planning. Moving among different circles, it has been observed that the overall impact of the PM’s speech has been quite encouraging.
It is also an established fact that nations working incessantly towards higher goals, after properly and realistically comprehending the scale of their problems, have accomplished landmarks. We are lucky that practical work has begun in all the important sectors, including energy and counter-terrorism. For example, circular debt to the tune of Rs 480 billion has been adjusted in just a few days (it resulted in an increase of 1,700 MW). Energy policy has been formulated with consensus among the federal and provincial governments; and there is going to be no leniency shown towards the people involved in gas and power pilferage that amounts to Rs 150 to Rs 250 billion annually. The Prime Minister maintained: “This is an open plunder of national resources. We have undertaken a full-fledged anti-theft drive against the culprits, which is still going on with firm determination. The culture of loot is over now.” This, in fact, was the central idea of his speech.
Besides this, he gave the nation another good news: that 6,600 MW electricity projects at Gadani would be inaugurated soon. Adding: “Similarly, development work will commence on electricity projects at Thar (coal-based generation).”
At the same time, the federal government is seriously concerned about terrorism that PM Nawaz has rightly ascribed to wrong policies and ulterior motives. Lamenting thousands of deaths caused due to terrorism, he asked the nation: “Shall we call it incompetence or insensitiveness? Whatever we name it, Pakistan cannot tolerate this anymore.”
It is, indeed, heartening to see that the PM is determined to adopt the path of zero tolerance for this deadly malaise called terrorism. He claimed: “Time has come that we should be brave enough to call a spade a spade. We should admit that our administrative and security agencies, and the system of our punishment and reward, have failed to come up to our expectation against the challenge of terrorism.”
Moreover, it is good that the government, besides holding consultations with the political parties, is willing to negotiate with the militants. “We have more than one option to deal with terrorists, but wisdom demands such a way out as to avoid further loss of innocent lives,” he said. This is, indeed, the demand of every Pakistani – that is, there should be no more bloodshed.
Evaluating the PM’s address from different perspectives, it can be aptly described as a heart-to-heart talk between a popularly elected leader and the people in which all of the important issues were discussed with concern and commitment, including Afghanistan, Kashmir, Lahore-Karachi motorway, Gwadar-Kasghar project, and Pak-China economic corridor. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has, in fact, told the nation to gird up its loins and take up the challenges with courage and clarity of vision, as he is there to lead it out of the mess.