November 10, 2017

Those hurling abuses should talk directly to us: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday said those indulging in abuses should make straight talk to him and he will give answers to them.

He regretted that no government made any significant improvements in the past several years. He said credit goes to the PML-N under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif that took up the construction of Super Highway, Lowari Tunnel, Nandipur project, Kacchi Canal that passes through Punjab and irrigates Balochistan, Diamer Bhasha Dam, Thar Coal and CPEC. He said the government delivered despite difficulties.

He said the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals were built and a 1,200-km-long pipeline constructed to provide cheapest electricity in the shortest period of time. The prime minister was speaking here at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Engineers Convention, organised by the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

He said that the PML-N government had brought unprecedented progress in the country’s infrastructure and mentioned construction of new roads, power plants and other industrial units. He said engineers are key to development and progress of the country. He asked the PEC to ensure higher standards of quality, attention to detail and timely completion of projects.

The premier said today 1,200MW of cheap electricity though three power houses was being generated through imported LNG. He said most of these were part of CPEC and the PEC needed to play its role. He asked the Engineering Council to be competitive, ensure top quality to survive in a challenging world. Prime Minister Abbasi, who himself is an engineer, said it was mere coincidence that several ministers including that of defence, planning and education, and others who were at the helm of affairs were engineers. He said together they were striving to take the country forward on the path of progress and prosperity. He hoped that the PEC would be made more effective and professional and would serve the national interests in a befitting manner. He was appreciative of holding of the Engineers Convention and hoped that it would turn out to be a regular event that would serve as a national forum to discuss issues related to the engineers.

The prime minister recalled his days while he was doing engineering and said in only one year’s time whatever he had learned at the university was almost obsolete as developments were moving at a very fast pace. He shared how the technology transformed during the course of the studies and stressed the need of regular updates in curriculum so as to keep the students abreast of the latest changes. He said if engineers deliver, the country could progress at a very fast pace. He said it transpired to him in only a few days’ time when he became the petroleum minister that provision of natural gas was the only way forward to address country’s power shortage crisis. He said many people were critical but being critical all the time was not helpful.

He said when the PML-N government came into power the industry was in pathetic condition, CNG was unavailable and fertiliser was being imported, while the domestic consumers were also suffering. He said gas was the primary energy source for the country and with imported LNG all those issues were today a thing of the past. He said this government added efficient energy of 10,400MW electricity and was a way towards achieving excellence.

The government has accelerated pace of work on CPEC and decided to put needed efforts to meet the deadlines pertaining to the ongoing project with special emphasis on communication and other engineering projects.

This was decided in the meeting of the cabinet committee on CPEC here at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Thursday chaired by the PM. The meeting reviewed progress on various CPEC projects in view of the upcoming 7th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC). The agreement on CPEC project was concluded by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who monitored the project keenly throughout during his stay in office.

In the meeting, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Interior, and the Planning Commission presented an overall structure of CPEC, its institutional framework, project portfolios, current progress and future plans. The cabinet committee reviewed progress on road infrastructure projects and their projected completion dates. The Railways Division made a presentation on feasibility of ML-1 project, including its detailed design and financing plan. The Aviation Division presented detailed design and financing plan of the Gwadar International Airport.

The cabinet committee was briefed on energy sector projects including Gwadar power project, Karot and Kohala hydel power projects, Mattiari-Lahore and Mattiari-Faisalabad HVDC Lines and coal projects in Thar. The cabinet committee was informed that significant work had been completed on energy projects, which constituted a major portion of CPEC. The committee was also apprised regarding the measures undertaken for security of CPEC projects.

The prime minister stated that CPEC offers a huge opportunity to Pakistan. Provincial governments were involved in all stages of CPEC planning with special focus on the development of Balochistan, stated the prime minister. The meeting was attended by Hafiz Abdul Kareem, Minister for Communications, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Minister for Railways, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Minister for Maritime Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission of Pakistan, Miftah Ismaeel, Special Assistant to PM, senior officials of the Cabinet Division, Planning Division, Finance Division, Railways Division, Power Division, Petroleum Division, FBR, NHA, Economic Affairs Division, Maritime Affairs Division and Board of Investment.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abbasi said that continuous gas supply was vital for domestic and industrial consumers and essential for the economic prosperity of the country. The prime minister said this after witnessing the signing of Inter-Governmental Agreement on supply of LNG between Pakistan and Malaysia, at a simple ceremony held here at the PM's Office.

The prime minister congratulated both sides for finalisation of the agreement. He said the present government had worked tirelessly to overcome the energy deficit in Pakistan and LNG terminals have been established in record period.





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