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25-year plan to produce 50,000MW: Nawaz

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said here on Thursday his government had prepared a 25-year long-term plan to generate 50,000MW power to end the energy crisis and meet future needs of the country.

Addressing a gathering after attending a briefing on the Rs60 billion Pakistan Power Park to generate 660MW electricity, the prime minister said a number of measures were being taken to address the power crisis.

He said the project would also help generate employment opportunities for the people of Sindh and Balochistan. A similar power park needs to be set up in Thar to utilise its huge reserves of coal. Mr Sharif said the government had resolved the issue of Rs480bn circular debt, but added that it could rise again if difficult decisions were not taken. He said the country was able to generate 1,700MW of additional power after this payment. The total generation reached a record 16,170MW, with the shortfall declining to 3,000MW and the demand standing at 19,000MW.

The prime minister was informed that the power park would include eight projects of independent power producers and generate 660MW. The project will have a dedicated jetty to provide access to ships for an LNG terminal.

Prime Minister Sharif said future plans included construction of coal-based plants which could produce 5200MW of electricity. Gas-powered plants will also be set up to meet the growing energy needs.

He said the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project would also produce 950MW. He regretted that because of inefficiency and poor policies in the past, the cost of the project had escalated from Rs45bn to Rs250bn.

Referring to the Kashgar-Gwadar trade corridor, he said small industrial zones will be set up along its route to attract investment from China because the cost of production in Pakistan was still low. The corridor will help generate huge business opportunities for the people of Pakistan because they will have access to over three billion people in the region.

About the motorway proposed to be built between Karachi and Lahore, the prime minister said the six-lane road would ensure swift and economical transportation of goods.—APP

Our Staff Reporter adds: Prime Minister Sharif said the PML-N accepted the mandate of the PPP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Sindh under a spirit which was needed to strengthen democracy and curb extremism.

“With this spirit we can beat extremism and put the country on road to progress and provide relief to the common man. We need to respect each other and make democracy a success story,” he told reporters at the Quaid’s Mazar after offering Fateha. It was his first visit to Karachi after becoming prime minister two months ago.

The prime minister ignored a question about the bitter history of relations between the PML-N and the MQM with reference to the visit last week by a delegation of the former to Nine-Zero to seek support for presidential candidate Mamnoon Hussain. He only said that “we would have to move forward with all parties which enjoy people’s mandate”.

Answering a question about the law and order situation in Karachi, he said the government was aware of the crisis the country’s financial capital was facing and it would take time to come up with credible policy for a lasting peace in the city.

“We need to raise a counter-terrorist force. Terrorism is an issue of the entire country. I personally talked to the chief ministers and asked them to come up with proposals in this regard. We will take the provinces on board while framing any policy against terrorism,” he said.

About the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, he said: “It was my desire that he would have continued his office, but he thought it appropriate not to work further. His services for the 2013 elections will always be recognised.”

In reply to a question about relations with India, he said talks should be resumed from the point where these had been abandoned in 1999 when the Lahore Declaration was adopted. “India is our neighbour and better relations with it will lead to increased trade and resumed dialogue on crucial issues, including Kashmir dispute,” he said.

The prime minister was received at the Karachi airport by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan and Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.

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