Businesses asked to support Energy plan

By Anzal Amin

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday appealed business community to support the government’s recently announced energy conservation plan marking the early closure of markets and restaurants, to ensure judicious use of national resources and reduce the import bill.
“I appeal to the business community to extend their support to the government (for energy conservation). This will reduce the oil import and bring down the dollar rate which would later be spent on country’s progress including agriculture and medicine,” the prime minister said addressing a ceremony for the establishment of Hazara Electric Company here.
Covering a total area of over 16,774 square kilometers, the new company would cater to the needs of around 726,000 consumers across Haripur, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Battagram, Torgarh, Kohistan Upper, Kohistan Lower and Kolai Plus.
The prime minister said any difficulty faced by a nation necessitated collective action and expressed the hope that the traders from across the country would take part in this “jihad” to save the national resources.
Referring to his telephonic interaction with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday, the prime minister assured that, unlike its predecessor, the incumbent government would abide by its commitments with IMF without further burdening the masses.
However, he also sensitized the IMF head over the country’s economic condition adversely affected by the worst floods and made it clear his government had already taxed the rich but could no more burden the poor. The IMF chief assured that their team would visit Pakistan for a review within two to three days, the prime minister added.
Speaking highly for the Pak-China fraternal relations, the prime minister said in his meeting, the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had also urged the IMF chief to support Pakistan considering the tough circumstances.
He also apprised the gathering of his 45-minute-long telephonic conversation with Chinese Premier on Thursday in which the latter assured him not to leave Pakistan alone, which the prime minister said evidenced the improvement of bilateral relations strained by the poor foreign policy of the previous government.
The prime minister criticized the previous government for undermining Pakistan’s relations with friendly countries including China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE because the ex-prime minister Imran Khan utilized most of his energies for political victimization and blaming the opponents.
The prime minister assured that the coalition government would do its maximum for the relief of the masses including the provision of jobs.
He with the establishment of HAZECO, a longstanding demand of the Hazara people was fulfilled and all the formalities in this regard would be completed immediately.
He said the government had already ordered the completion of half-complete gas projects initiated in the past as billions from the national kitty were already spent.
He recalled that besides launching numerous development schemes across Hazara region, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif had launched LNG-based power plants to inject another 11,000MW of electricity in the national grid to support the energy-scarce country.
Calling Imran Khan a thankless person, the prime minister said the PTI chief had nothing to claim the credit for any development project in KP, Sindh, AJK, GB and Hazara.
He said despite enjoying their immense support, the PTI chief was ungrateful to the former military leadership and was instead blaming them.
Prime Minister Shehbaz said the coalition government inherited unimaginably poor economic conditions with the energy crisis, halted CPEC projects, and strained foreign relations.
He said at the upcoming International Conference of Climate Resilient Pakistan, the prime minister said he would contest the case of Pakistan.
The prime minister resolved that under PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif’s leadership, the incumbent government would lead Pakistan to become a great nation.
Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi and PML-N’s MPA from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha wore the prime minister a traditional robe of the Hazara region.
Minister for Energy Engineer Khurram Dastgir said the previous government halted major development projects including Shanghai Electric Power Project but the incumbent government took the project to completion.
He said a grid of 765KV was ready for inauguration in Mansehra and that the current government had resumed the development course impeded by the PTI government.
PML-N leader Captain (Retd) Safdar said with the establishment of HAZECO, the government had fulfilled a long-standing demand of the people of Hazara who were also thankful to the PML-N leadership for building the motorway and Muzaffarbad road for their facilitation.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi and ex-federal minister Sardar Yousuf said the people of Hazara would never disappoint the PML-N. They said by impeding the development projects, the PTI government inflicted immense loss on the country.
Senator Pir Sabir Shah and Engineer Amir Muqam thanked the prime minister for the establishment of the HAZECO and demanded of the government to lift the ban on jobs in distribution companies.