SHEIKHUPURA - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday said Pakistan was heading towards an economic revival as its economy turns around and promises a bright future for the people of the country.

He said the country will also get rid of loadshedding in 2018, the year marked for next general elections when his government’s ongoing term expires. The prime minister was addressing the ground-breaking ceremony of the Rs55 billion Bhikki power project near Shiekhupura which is to be completed in 2017 and is supposed to add 1,180MW electricity to the national grid.

Nawaz Sharif claimed the project that could have cost Rs95 billion as per the Nepra tariff, would now complete in only Rs55 billion, owing to the transparent policies of the government.

The prime minister last month ordered audit of 525MW Nandipur power project, which has brought a huge discredit to his government that was voted into power primarily on promises of economic revival and fixing the long-running energy problem.

The Nandipur plant remains idle despite massive cost overruns and accusation of corruption. This comes in the middle of a large spurt in power projects, many of them connected with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which the government is trying hard to own as an emblem of its success.

Nawaz termed it criminal offence of the previous governments who neglected the critical need of electricity generation. He said now the onus of rectifying the ills of the past was on his govt which was doing its best to end the loadshedding by 2018.

Nawaz said the PC-I of Bhikki power project called for higher cost of commissioning of the project and it could have been an easier choice for any crook government to exploit it for sheer popularity. But, the PML-N government does not believe in such tactics and treats the national funds as a sacred trust of the people, he added.

He said the project would save Rs360 billion in 30 years and the work on Bhikki and two other power projects would help the country save a whooping Rs1,080 billion. The PM said neither the country could progress nor electricity be produced just by chanting slogans and burning electricity bills.

while sitting on containers, a reference to Imran Khan whose PTI is challenging Nawaz league in its stronghold, Lahore.

The very day PM broke ground for Bhikki project near Shiekhupura, his PML-N and Khan’s PTI held impressive shows of their political muscle in NA-122 constituency of the provincial capital in the evening.

Nawaz Sharif said those who hurled baseless allegations atop the containers, lack the ability to understand what it means to serve the nation selflessly. He said those criticising the government just for the sake of criticism were doing no service to masses and he always prayed God “to guide such people to sanity”.

He paid tributes to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others who worked hard make Bhikki project feasible and provide electricity at lower and cheaper rates. Nawaz Sharif mentioned the Neelum Jhelum, Dasu dam, Tarbella IV, Thar Coal and several other projects that were working at a fast pace.

The prime minister said his government was striving to end power shortage and working on mega projects for improvement of road networks across the country in a transparent manner. In this regard, he also cited the Rs150 billion re-surfacing of the motorway project.

He regretted politicising of the ambitious "Kissan Package" and said the government was going in appeal and would like it revived as it would greatly help the farming community who was going through a difficult time.

He said the government wanted to install solar tube-wells and provide series of incentives for the farmers, but unfortunately some political parties wanted to bring a bad name to the package.