LAHORE - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal on Friday said that country was facing numerous problems because of non-technical persons.

“Decision making on technical issues should lie with the technical persons to achieve good results”, he said while addressing the Pakistan Engineering Congress annual session at a local hotel here.

He stressed that the issue of non-technical people taking technical decisions having serious implications for the country was a serious problem which must be addressed for the betterment.

He also said that without reviving the credibility of the engineering profession, progress of the country was impossible.

He said that engineers were a missing link which provided practical shape to ideas, adding, that in Pakistan engineers had made big achievements.

Ahsan said that in 1998, the PML-N government had made a roadmap to make the energy sector capable of producing 28,000mw but Martial Law was imposed and the country worked for 14 years without any planning.

He said that by 2025 the population would be about 230 million and if resources were not utilised properly, the country could face many crisis including food and water scarcity.

Ahsan Iqbal said the media was an asset to the country without which it was impossible to defeat dictatorship and it had also played a great role in the judiciary freedom movement, adding, that freedom and responsibility should be adopted for better working.

He said the media should highlight the weaknesses of the government but also project positive development for hope among the masses. “Even the smallest project of energy takes two to three years for completion,” he added.

He said that it was for the first time in history that a democratic government had completed its five-year term and smooth transfer of power took place. “Former Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani handed over the command to new COAS General Raheel Sharif and Tassaduq Hussain Jilani took oath as Chief Justice of Pakistan,” he added.

The Minister said, “We have to get rid of elements which cause unrest in the country. Iran is trying to resolve all its problems through dialogue with America. Protests are not a solution as they were sending back investors and maligning the image of the country.”

He said the UN resolution on drone attacks was a moral victory for Pakistan, adding, that it was time to move ahead with wisdom and strategy.

Ahsan Iqbal said that in the first quarter the economy had increased from 2.5 per cent to 5 per cent, adding, that Pakistan was moving towards revival of the economy.

He said that Pakistan got the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status which was a big achievement. He said that for three years all parties should keep their differences aside and work collectively for nation-building.

He said infrastructure and the energy sector were badly neglected in the last 14 years.

He said that the present government had added 1700 mw to the national grid and initiated a campaign against power theft and defaulters.

Ahsan Iqbal said that technical consensus was necessary to develop a political consensus on the Kalabagh dam, adding ,that it was the job of technical persons to convince people on the issue. He said a divide in the Federation could not be tolerated at any cost.

He said that Islamabad Airport would be completed at Rs 100 billion and still nobody knew from where water would be provide to it and such mismanagement of projects was a hurdle to the progress of the country.

Engr Shmasul Mulk and Pakistan Engineering Congress President Riaz Ahmad Khan also spoke on the occasion.