PESHAWAR - Assuring further reduction in the prices of petroleum products next month, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday announced Rs2.32 per unit cut in the electricity tariff.

The PM was addressing a press conference at the Governor House Peshawar after condoling the death of Usman Bilour, son of ANP’s Bashir Bilour.

About the current cut in tariff, the prime minister said it is just the beginning as the government is trying to further reduce electricity tariff through exploiting alternative energy resources. He expressed the hope that soon the masses will get rid of loadshedding as the projects initiated with the support of China would have a positive impact on energy production. He said it would not be appropriate to give any deadline but it was priority of his government to end loadshedding in his ongoing tenure, he added.

Prime Minister Nawaz said that reduction in the petroleum prices has positively impacted the economy and this downward price trend would continue in the next month. He said that despite limited resources, the government was trying to give relief to the masses. Coal-based energy projects would help in overcoming the energy shortage, he added.

The prime minister said Wapda is the hub of corruption and mismanagement and the incumbent government has initiated steps to purge the Authority of corrupt elements.

Asked about talks with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Nawaz Sharif said his party (PML-N) believes in negotiations and soon all the disputes would be resolved through dialogue. He said his government did not feel threatened by protest rallies but it was concerned about the delay in the developmental projects and obstruction being caused to the economic activities in the country.

The PM claimed that due to ongoing protests and sit-in of the PTI, the dollar rate against rupee had surged to 103, but has been brought down to 98 in the last few months with an effort. He said that the PTI wasted valuable time through the sit-ins and if there was no disruption in the country, the masses would have been getting cheaper electricity.

PM Nawaz Sharif said they were not taking loans from Beijing. He said China is investing in Pakistan to contribute to the development of the country. He said they were improving relationship with Afghanistan and soon work on Peshawar-Kabul motorway would be started. He urged the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to keep a close watch on transport fares as the federal government has announced a big cut in the petroleum prices in the last two months.

Nawaz Sharif said he wants to have friendly relations with the neighbouring countries, including India and Afghanistan, and his government was moving in the right direction. He said relations with India were improving and Pakistan was trying to improve it further.

He recalled that during his earlier term as prime minister in the late 90s, the country was self-sufficient in power and had surplus electricity to be exported to India. With China’s investment, new power projects would start generating electricity in three years, he added.

The PM however lamented that anti-government protests by Imran Khan (PTI) and Tahirul Qadri (PAT) had delayed the installation of new energy projects. Industrialists were ambitious to invest in Pakistan but power shortage was a major impediment in this regard, he said.

Nawaz Sharif said that the government was taking every possible step to eradicate terrorism for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan. Earlier, the prime minister visited the Bilour House and offered Fateha for the departed soul of Usman Bilour. Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, KPK Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad, PML-N Central General Secretary Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and other party leaders and workers were present on the occasion.

PM appoints heads of six organisations

APP adds: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Friday approved appointment of heads of six different organisations.

Those appointed include Chairman Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Dr Mohammad Ashraf, Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, Professor Mohammad Asharf, Director General  National Institute of Electronics, Brig Basharat Mehmud, DG Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies Dr Sohail Zaki Farooqi, DG Pakistan Accredition Council Ms Ismat Gul Khattak and DG National Institute of Oceanography Dr Asif Inaam.