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Benevolent governance personified

Like all the sane leaders and statesmen, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is of the firm belief that no nation on earth can survive without proper energy resources and without a sound economy.

It is with this conviction that he did not waste a single moment in reaching out to the economic giant like China that also happens to be a highly trustworthy friend as well as to Turkey that is poised to become the 12th biggest economy of the world and whose people love Pakistanis like their real siblings.

The prime minister moved with exceptional, rather unprecedented speed in dashing to China and Turkey with solid plans in his files that offer bright prospects for the entrepreneurs investing in Pakistan in different ventures. The concerns of these brotherly countries’ potential investors have also been addressed with concrete, practicable proposals and in this manner, the government of Nawaz Sharif has laid the foundation of a vibrant economy and thus of a strong, self-sustaining Pakistan that would soon be free from the crutches of foreign domination. By visiting these friendly states, the PM has, in a way, taken a stride on his previously set track of self-reliance and self-esteem.

And all that was done in days in the beginning of his term in office. For the PM, deadlines are more important than even the economic goals and targets. This is what is needed under the present circumstances as lot of rot had come our way that now needs surgery not only with precision but also with speed.

With China, the government has successfully concluded MoUs for construction of Pak-China Economic Corridor that means a big socio-economic revolution for the people of Pakistan and the entire region as they envisage greater connectivity and trade linkages between Pakistan and China through a network of road, rail, fiber optic cable and energy pipelines and provide for establishment of special economic zones, industrial parks, trade centres, development of energy sector and economic and technical cooperation.

Those who are aware of the rationale and scale of the Pak-China Economic Corridor opine emphatically that it would prove to be a game changer in all respects especially through the establishment of economic zones along the entire length of the proposed project from Gwadar to Khunjrab and into China, reaching Kashghar.

It also includes construction of road and railway links. And, as rightly opined by the PM, economic integration of two countries and the region would benefit about three billion people in China, South Asia and Central Asia.

Turkey too has reciprocated to PM Nawaz Sharif’s and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif’s goodwill visits and would be expanding its business activity with public welfare projects (on the pattern of its previous successful project of Lahore Metro Bus) with the active collaboration of Pakistan and Punjab governments both of which have already provided the enabling environment with infrastructure and facilities pinpointed by Turkish entrepreneurs including the removal of snags like red tapism in Nepra and NTDC and other departments.

The most encouraging part of the first 100 days of PML-N government is that not a single day has passed without proper, timed planning (timed planning means projects are seriously contemplated with proper sense of timing to achieve results within the shortest possible time).

It is, of course, a matter of solace for the people that the National Economic Council (NEC) has approved the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2013-14 at Rs1155 billion including Rs615 billion for Provincial Annual Development Programmes (ADPs), with 32 percent increase over 2012-13. Federal PSDP, 2013-14, was approved at Rs540 billion including Rs109 billion foreign aid/loan; 50 percent higher than last year.

Likewise, top priority has been given to revival and revitalization of the pending projects particularly those in the energy sector. The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) considered in its two meetings (July and August 2013) 25 out of 55 pending projects including 15 of energy sector. The Forum approved 21 projects worth Rs1162.753 billion. The cost of energy sector projects was Rs1101.534 billion which is 95 percent of the total approved cost.

Besides that, two meetings of Central Development Working Party (CDWP) were organized (July and August 2013) to approve various development projects. The CDWP considered 29 projects and approved nine including five projects of energy sector, three of social sector and one project of production sector.

What can be described as really good news for the people is that the percentage share of energy sector projects amounts to quite an encouraging figure of 64%. It is on record that 17 out of 24 projects relate to energy sector costing Rs168 billion, including hydro power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

The government is determined to do away with energy crises for all times to come. It is the firm conviction of PM Sharif and his economic team that energy resources should be multiplied and diversified and no sector, local and international, should be left unexplored for obtaining energy. The plans to get energy from neighbouring countries including India, are serious endeavours in this direction. What is comforting to note in this context is that at no point, the government has bowed before harsh preconditions and conditions of such agreements. The focus, instead, is empowering the citizenry without further debt burden and without surrendering to external forces’ unreasonable demands.

The government deserves to be commended for working without a moment’s break to restructure and strengthen the economy side by side with coping with comparatively insurmountable challenges of corruption, power and gas pilferage and terrorism etc. The wisest of all the decisions (that is also the most timely decision) is the empowerment of youth programme through six schemes that would set the wheel of development into motion with the use of youth energy. PM’s calculation about the youth’s role in economic development and in the building of a prosperous Pakistan, is full of sagacity as the youth component of Pakistan goes beyond the 40/50 percent figure.

Nature has already blessed — even equipped — Pakistan with this tremendous source whose potential has never been put to optimum use by any of our leaders and governments. The new lease of life that the youth have got from PM’s latest announcement of schemes is in fact the lease of life given to the entire country.

There is no reason why the Pakistan of near-future will not come out of chronic dependency and despondency when it is being sincerely looked after by PM Sharif who can be likened to a benevolent parent caring for his children through the thick and thin of life.

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