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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday, in a thinly-veiled reference to the PPP, hit out at his critics, saying: "those who are responsible for load-shedding [in the country] are now threatening to hold protests."

He was speaking at a ceremony to mark the inauguration of the 1,180 megawatt (MW) Bhikki Power Plant in Sheikhpura.

The Bhikki power plant is the first ever LNG-based power plant in the country. It will, for now, contribute 717MW to the national grid. It was completed over a period of 18 months.

His brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, tweeted the following image soon after the inauguration:

"We have completed a massive project in 18 months. It is unbelievable that we have done this. Other projects in this country have been under construction for 30 years," PM Sharif said.

"If we had not personally supervised this project, it would have taken 15 years as opposed to 18 months," he said.

Earlier this week, the PPP had warned it would stage protests across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa if excessive and unscheduled power load-shedding in the province was not curtailed immediately.

Dismissing the opposition party, the prime minister said: "If you had worked with honesty, this country would have been successful today."

"We are trying to fix your mistakes," he added.

"When we came to power in 2013, we picked up work on these development projects."

The prime minister spoke extensively on the development projects undertaken during his tenure, repeatedly criticising other parties for not doing enough within their own constituencies.

"Why weren't the motorways ever expanded? Why is it that the federal government had to take the initiative of starting new infrastructure projects in Karachi?" he said.

"The provincial government should fix the law and order situation in Karachi and create a scheme for drinking water public transportation in Sindh. We are happy to do this but shouldn't the Sindh government have taken the initiative on its own," Sharif said.

"We have broken the back of terrorist organisations. Was this only our prerogative? Why didn't past governments do anything when they were in power?" he said.

"We are not looking at 2018 — we are looking ahead for the next 10, 20 years," the prime minister said.

"The country will continue to prosper. The children of the poor will get education — this is our dream. I pray these dreams come true," the prime minister said.

"Stop with your lies," the prime minister said in a last swipe at his opponents. "Stop this blame game, otherwise you will continue to lose and only the PML-N will remain in the field," he said.

"Pakistan zindabad, Pakistan paindabad," the prime minister said as he wrapped up his speech.

Burgeoning power crisis

The power plant's inauguration came after the prime minister ordered action against officials who failed to plan in advance for the summer season a day earlier, as the electricity shortfall crossed a record 7,000MW.

Due to the shortfall, the duration of load-shedding in urban areas had increased to an average 14-16 hours. Loadshedding in rural areas was even worse, rising to 20 hours.

The prime minister had expressed “dissatisfaction over the negligence of departments concerned” over the latest power situation that has put the government in an awkward political position at one of the most challenging times and ahead of the Panama Leaks case judgement.

Presiding over a special meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy, Nawaz had directed all resources to be put to use to reduce the current shortfall and provide maximum relief to people through as much reduction in load-shedding as possible.