ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday expressed resolve of the government to eliminate terrorism, improve economy, address power crisis and pursue good neighbourly relations with all countries of the region including India for regional peace and prosperity.
The premier, in his first official televised address to the nation, said Pakistan today was facing serious challenges like terrorism, endangering the very survival of the country and worst kind of power shortfall that has paralysed the national economy.
“The very foundations of the country have been shaken due to lack of administrative skills, rampant corruption in every sphere and inefficiency of the last fourteen years that has brought national institutions like PIA, Pakistan Steel, Railway and WAPDA to the verge of virtual collapse,” he said.
“These institutions are inflicting huge losses of five billion rupees annually to the national exchequer.”
He said national debt which stood at just Rs3000 billion in June 1990 has now soared to 14,500 billion rupees.
The prime minister said that one can gauge insensitivity of the previous regime and the level of corruption from two instances of Nandipur and Neelum-Jhelum power projects.
“Their execution was either obstructed or criminally delayed leading to massive increase in the cost and delay in their completion at a time when the country badly needed electricity,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif recounted the measures taken by the present government to overcome the electricity crisis. He said despite financial constraints the government arranged retirement of circular debt worth 480 billion rupees as a result of which electricity generation has increased by 1700 MW.
He said another factor of loadshedding was massive electricity theft and gas ranging between 150 to 250 billion rupees annually and that is why the government has launched an aggressive campaign against line losses. The campaign would continue with full resolve, he added.
The premier said a consensus national energy policy has been approved with input from the provinces which was an important milestone in efforts to overcome the electricity crisis.
He said long term measures are also being initiated to mitigate the electricity shortage and soon coal-based power plants with aggregate capacity of 6600 MW would be inaugurated at Gadani followed by establishment of plants at Thar.
Sharif expressed the confidence that the menace of loadshedding would be over during constitutional tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
Referring to terrorism, he said the government was determined to tackle the problem either through dialogue or with full might of the state and all state institutions are on the same page on the issue.
He said the government has more than one options to tackle the problem but wisdom demands that there was no loss of innocent lives. PM Sharif invited those treading the path of terrorism to dialogue to end the vicious cycle of bloodshed.
The prime minister said it was time for bold review of our foreign policy as without the scant national resources cannot be exploited for the good of the poor and progress and prosperity of the country.
He said his dream to make Pakistan an Asian tiger is deeply linked to this.
The prime minister reiterated that Kashmir was a national issue and jugular vein of Pakistan and resolution of the problem was as dear to him as other Pakistanis. He, however, said without strengthening economy of the country, progress was unattainable.
“Alongside Kashmir issue we will have to pay attention to strengthen our economy resolve our internal and external problems and tackle power crisis and terrorism,” he said.
He said Pakistan and India will have to joint their heads together so that they can address common issues like poverty and ignorance.
“History bears testimony to the fact that progress and development of a nation is deeply linked to cordial relations with neighbours. It is because of this that we want good relations with all neighbours including India.”
The premier said he has always wanted good relations with India and people supported his contention during recent elections. He said that both countries should realise that instead of wasting their energies and resources on wars they should wage war against poverty ignorance and disease.
He said the nation was fully prepared to defend the motherland along with its valiant armed forces.
On Afghanistan, the prime minister said a strategy that highlights bright face of the country in the comity of nations will adopted by his government.
He said the government has a clear stance on drone attacks which are violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and this was directly communicated to US Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to stop these attacks.
He said the Un Secretary General has also expressed concern over killing of peaceful civilians in these attacks.
On Balochistan unrest, the prime minister said situation in Balochistan wass of concern for every Pakistani– PPI