Monday, July 3, 2017

Sahiwal power plant belies propaganda against CPEC projects, says Shahbaz

The Newspaper's Staff Reporter

Published 7 minutes ago

LAHORE: As probe into Panama case enters its final stages, the PML-N seems to have toughened its stance against its political rivals, leaving no opportunity to criticise them for what it says “creating hurdles in the path of progress”.

And the inauguration of the 1320MW coal-fired power plant at Sahiwal on Monday was no exception.

On the occasion, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif played a vital role in further strengthening Pak-China friendship, but some elements, which overtly supported the friendship, opposed it covertly.

“They (such elements) left no stone unturned to heap negative propaganda against CPEC projects. Our opponents and critics (had) claimed that these projects would not be materialised, but due to the grace of Almighty Allah, this mega CPEC project is providing 1320-megawatt electricity to the national grid,” Shahbaz said after opening the second unit of the power plant.


Opens second unit of 1,320MW coal-fired venture

He recalled that Chinese President Xi Jinping was scheduled to visit Islamabad in 2014 but unluckily sit-ins were staged then, a reference to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) agitation.

“I am an eyewitness that the sit-in organisers were requested that the president of our most trustworthy (and) friendly country is coming to Pakistan, therefore, you should vacate this place (D-Chowk on Constitutional Avenue) for some days. Political as well as military leadership tried their level best in this regard, but the sit-in organisers refused to oblige,” Shahbaz said.

He said the organisers, in fact, wanted to put the future of Pakistan at stake, adding that as a result of the agitation the visit of Chinese president was postponed.

Referring to the ongoing Panama Leaks investigation, he said the country would make progress “whether there’s Panama or Benama as the projects are being completed despite sit-ins and lock-downs”.

He hoped the people would again fail such sit-ins and lock-downs as the country would move forward.

He lambasted the past governments for what he said weakening the country with their alleged corruption, maladministration and nepotism in energy and reconstruction projects.

“The cost of Rs80 billion Neelam Jhelum project has soared to Rs500 billion that will generate 985-MW electricity, while Rs180 billion Sahiwal coal power project is producing 1320MW electricity,”he said.

The chief minister also censured the CPEC critics for alleging that China had attached some conditions with the CPEC projects. “These elements are enemies of Pakistan and do not want benefit of the country,” he said, adding that Beijing had initiated CPEC without any compulsion. He recalled that China supported Pakistan in the wars of 1965 and 1971 (against India) without any condition and always supported the Kashmir cause at the UN.

“China stands with Pakistan at different international forums. China is standing before the enemies of Pakistan like a rock wall.” Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar reportedly called on Shahbaz Sharif late in the evening to discuss political situation in the wake of JIT probe.

Though no official word was given on the meeting, it is learnt that both the leaders discussed various issues related to appearance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hussain and Hasan and daughter Maryam before the JIT.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2017

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