‘If courts don’t hold Zardari accountable, the people will’: Shahbaz; Foundation stone of 1263MW plant in Haveli Bahadur Shah laid
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif laid the foundation stone of the 1263 Mega Watt Punjab Gas Power Plant in Haveli Bahadur Shah near Jhang on Saturday. The project will be completed in 26 months and in the first phase 810MW of electricity will be produced in 14 months.
Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the government had successfully accomplished the mission of load-shedding free Pakistan rather it had launched the projects to suffice the country’s power needs till 2030.
The prime minister said currently there was no load-shedding in the country except in the areas where the cases of power theft were being reported.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Power Awais Khan Leghari and Minister of State for Power Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali accompanied the prime minister as they earlier unveiled the plaque to launch work on the project that would complete in two phases. Ambassadors of China and Germany also attended the ceremony.
The first phase of the LNG-fuelled project would complete in 14 months and generate 810MW electricity while after completion
of the second phase in 26 months, the power production would reach total 1263 MW.
“In June, the ruling PML-N will complete its tenure after which elections will be held,” said PM Abbasi, adding that “we are hopeful that people will still vote for us based on our performance.”
The prime minister said the power project initiated by the Pakistan People’s Party government could not produce a single kilowatt electricity even after 30 months rather indebted the country by Rs 80 billion. Contrarily, the incumbent government executed four projects in 20 months to contribute around 3600 MW of electricity to the national grid, he added.
He spoke high of the Punjab chief minister for overseeing the execution of four liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plants saying the country could never have overcome load-shedding in the absence of those plants.
“No one can complain that PML-N differentiated between provinces,” said PM. “We have learned politics from Nawaz Sharif Sahib who never put down his political opponents even during party’s internal politics,” he added.
The prime minister said the PML-N did not believe in politics of allegations and the language now being used at stage was not even used in the PML-N’s private meetings.
Commenting on the current political scenario, he said such alliances always brought zero results. He said the government would complete the term and it would be the people to decide the future in 2018.
He said he felt that the political opponents wanted to avoid elections as the only PML-N was desiring the timely election. Contrarily, both the PPP and the PTI remained away from Senate when the electoral reforms bill was presented for passage.
“Don’t you want elections in the country? Don’t you want the country to achieve progress?” he questioned the opposition.
He said it was time to move together and it was unfortunate that even political parties wanted the ‘bloodshed of democracy’ instead of passing the bill required by the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold timely elections.
He again criticized the notions of technocrat or national government saying that only the governments with public mandate could bring progress to the country.
“What the technocrat government of 1999-2008 had delivered? Did it build any airport or power plant? CPEC could have been launched in Musharraf’s time also. But why it came only during Nawaz Sharif’s government?” he questioned.
Addressing the ceremony, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said load-shedding in the country has been eliminated due to untiring and round-the-clock efforts of the PML-N government. He said industries, farms, schools, hospitals, offices and houses are getting electricity due to the completion of the power projects.
The chief minister said we are also thankful to the Chinese government which had helped us eliminate power crisis and if the Chinese cooperation had not been with us, we had been unable to achieve targets.
He said we should always remember Chinese story of true promises, ideas and sympathy. He said by the end of this year or the start of January and February 3600 MW will be added to the national grid from the gas powered projects.
The Chief Minister said the media presents dramatic talks and creates confusion, and the media should also present facts and truths before the people and made the people aware about great projects which will change fate of the nation and which have been completed in the record short period.
He said the energy projects which we have installed had been started at the double cost and the speed and transparency with which we have completed the projects will one day get their place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
He said the Supreme Court judge had given the verdict that Babar Awan had committed dishonesty in this project and holding Babar Awan responsible for delay in this project NAB was directed to take action against Awan and billions of rupees of the poor were looted in this project.
He said is there anyone who could investigate corruption in Nandipur project and in this project the then government had not done bidding and the Rs50 billion project had been awarded without tendering and there can be no higher tower of corruption than this. He said Chichuke Malianis another example of the corruption of the former rulers and a company had been given Rsb2.5 billion ten years ago to install this project of 500MW and not even a brick of this project has been placed.
Addressing the ceremony, Cheif Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif lashed out at political opponent, Asif Ali Zardari saying: “Listen Zardari Sahib, court of people will hold you accountable, if others would not do so.” He added those who have looted the country now speak about others’ corruption. “If NAB [National Accountability Bureau] doesn’t hold Zardari accountable, then the nation will.”
Someone needs to step up and reform the country’s structures. There is rampant corruption, the money of the poor people has been looted and kept in the bank accounts in Switzerland, said Shahbaz. He said, “The money could have been spent on the orphans, widows and unemployed youth.”
Speaking about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Chairperson Imran Khan, he said that not a single watt of electricity was produced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but the leader speaks about bringing about a new Pakistan. He also claimed that people surrounding Imran are also involved in corrupt practices.
On the corruption allegations against him, Shahbaz remarked that even if NAB chairman investigates 56,000 cases against him no corruption would be found. “If even an ounce of corruption is proven against me, then the nation is free to hold me accountable,” he added.
Shahbaz also stressed that politicians, judges, generals, bureaucrats and parliamentarians must work together and form a new contract. “All the stake holders must work together if we want the Pakistan envisioned by Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam,” he said.
He recalled that the participants of cabinet energy committee had once opposed his idea of new power plants but Nawaz Sharif showed the political sagacity and decided to execute the LNG-based projects for 3600MW realizing the sensitivity of his commitment he had made during 2013 electioneering.
He thanked the Chinese ambassador and Chinese leadership for helping Pakistan achieve this target which was otherwise impossible.
He said the power projects including Haveli, Bhikki and Balloki plants would contribute 3600 MW by February and urged media to also highlight the journey of national development to tell the future generations.
He said the projects had been executed with the fastest pace and at the record lowest price.Contrarily, the public money was looted in Nandipur power project and the Rs 50 billion project was launched without bidding. Even Chichoki Malian project seemed nowhere at the site despite having spent Rs 2.5 billion.
He said Imran Khan showed his political vengeance by wasting 22 months by halting the Orange Line project.
He said NAB makes laws to keep everyone in check, but this seems to only be for certain people, and not all.
“If I have stolen a single rupee from the people, if it is proven, nation can hold me accountable and come to me directly,” Shahbaz said.
“If corruption charges rise against me after my death, I allow you to dig me out of my grave and hang me for it,” CM Punjab said. “Imran Niazi opposed the Orange Line Metro train for 22 months until he descended on Nathiagali and realised Metro buses would be good for Peshawar.”