ISLAMABAD: A series of inauguration and groundbreaking ceremonies were lined up that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif could not perform because of his disqualification by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday.

On the basis of some of these inaugurations, Mr Sharif was planning to declare Pakistan a “loadshedding-free” country by December this year.

The first among such projects was the 1,200MW Balloki power project whose inauguration was scheduled for July 31.

Everything was arranged and even invitation cards had been printed for the guests to attend the inauguration ceremony of coming into operation of 700MW of the LNG-based plant.

This was to be followed by the groundbreaking ceremony of the 4320MW Dasu hydropower project on Aug 2-3.

The invitation cards for its groundbreaking were yet to be printed, but two days were tentatively kept vacant for finalisation on the basis of weather conditions.

Next in the line was inauguration of the 340MW Chashma-IV nuclear power plant.

The plant is currently on test run and dates for its commercial operation and inauguration were in the process of finalisation for the third week of August.

But before these energy projects, Mr Sharif was scheduled to inaugurate on Aug 14 new Islamabad airport and a dedicated metro transport road project to connect the airport with the federal capital.

Another major coal power project of 1,320MW at Port Qasim is almost ready for completion and its sponsors had sought dates for inauguration by the now disqualified prime minister in the first week of September.

The project is one of the few early harvest projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and sponsored by Qatar’s Al-Mirqab Capital and China’s Power Construction Corporation, a subsidiary of SinoHydro Resources Limited.

In addition, the government was coordinating with contractors of the 1,180MW Bhikki LNG project for finalisation of a commercial operation date (COD) of combined cycle operations at full capacity. The tentative dates for the project’s inauguration were set around first week of October.

A similar project — 1,200MW Haveli Bahadur Shah — is also expected to achieve combined cycle COD at full capacity in November.

Informed sources said the government was still examining — based on test runs of various plants — whether the prime minister should announce no more loadshedding in the country on the occasion of inauguration of the Haveli Bahadur Shah project or a separate special function be arranged for such announcement.

The sources said that given the fact that a PML-N nominee would be taking over as the country’s next prime minister, Nawaz Sharif would still be gracing most of these ceremonies.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2017

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