BAHAWALPUR/Karachi/GUDDU  - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday stressed continuity of policies for development to have a real impact, while also reaffirming the government’s commitment to resolve the issues with the Taliban through talks.

The PM made these remarks in two cities, in Guddu and later in Karachi. He inaugurated commissioning of additional power units at the Guddu Thermal Power Plant, which will add another 747MW to the national grid at a cost of Rs 60 billion. He later visited Karachi where he reviewed law and order situation in the port city.

Prime Minister Nawaz landed at Sheikh Zayed International Airport Rahim Yar Khan from where he was taken to the Guddu by a helicopter to attend the inauguration ceremony.

Addressing a large gathering after the inauguration of two gas turbines of 243 MW each, the prime minister said a third unit will be operational in May, increasing the current capacity of Guddu Power Plant from 1655MW to 2402MW, equivalent to four billion units of electricity. He also stressed continuity of policies for the development work to make a real impact.

He said had the pace of progress achieved by his government in 1999 continued, there would have been no issue of loadshedding and the country would have been at the forefront amongst the developed countries of the world.

In Karachi, the PM was given briefings on the law and order situation by the Sindh Additional IG and the Rangers DG. He said targeted operation in Karachi will continue, adding that it is producing good results.

About the dialogue process with the Taliban, PM Nawaz Sharif said it would continue as his government wants to solve problems through negotiations. He said ups and downs in dialogues are natural but it does not mean the process has been stopped, and it will take some more time to take final decisions. “We are sincere in talks and had started the process with the same intention.“

In Guddu, the PM earlier said the three units, which got inaugurated, were part of the Combined Cycle Plant and would generate 747 MW of electricity to cut down the demand-supply gap.

He said the early completion of the project, seven months ahead of schedule, will lead to a saving of 58.6 billion rupees. He said the saving was almost equal to the amount spent on the project.

He said he was pleased to see that the efforts of the government were bearing fruits and hoped that with sustained efforts the problem of loadshedding will be over soon, and industry and agriculture will flourish.

The premier regretted that in the past the slow pace of work on the projects had hampered progress but hoped that the measures being adopted by the government will bring about a positive change.

He said the government will ensure that each penny from the national exchequer is spent transparently and on projects that benefit the masses. He said the people of Pakistan were facing long hours of loadshedding for the past one decade and it had also seriously undermined the country’s progress in all areas.

However, he expressed the hope that with the initiative of the government, things would change and an era of progress and development will usher in.

In this regard, he said the government through good governance was trying to enhance efficiency of existing power plants, speeding up work of ongoing projects, and planning for new projects under public-private partnership.

Prime Minister Sharif also termed the project as part of the government’s efforts to meet the energy shortfall in the country and gave a detailed overview of the new projects that were underway across the country to make the country self-sufficient.

He said following the government’s efforts additional 21,000MW electricity would be added to the national grid in next eight years. He was also appreciative of the Chinese assistance and its company Harbin Electric International Company for completing the work on the project, seven months ahead of the deadline.

The prime minister lauded the strong Pakistan-China multifaceted ties and said he was proud of Pakistan’s friendship with China which he said was deepest than the deepest oceans, highest than the highest mountains and sweetest than the sweetest honey.

He said the two countries were jointly working on several power projects and had promised investment of billions of dollars in different projects in Pakistan.

He was also appreciative of the Ministry of Water and Power, GENCO Holding Company and Central Power Generation Co Ltd of Guddu for fast tracking the project.

The prime minister, who earlier had a round of the power plant and unveiled the plaque, was also briefed about the salient features of the project.

Prime Minister Sharif said he and Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah will soon jointly inaugurate the work on the new Lahore-Karachi motorway.

He mentioned that soon after coming into power, his government paid back the Rs 500 billion circular debt and incentives were given to Independent Power Producers.

He said 6600 MW electricity would also be generated at the Gadani Power Park with assistance of local and foreign investors, while with the support of the Asian Development Bank, a 1320 MW coal-fired power plant was being set up at Jamshoro. Besides, feasibility was underway for similar coal plants at Lakhara, Port Qasim and Thar.

He said work on 1410MW extension IV at Tarbela, Extension V at Tarbela for 1320MW and 4500MW at Diamir and Bhasa dams had also been initiated. He said the private sector was investing in power projects at Soki Kinari, Karot and Kohala, and all this would bring about 21,000MW power in the next eight years.

He said the government was also focusing on fast-tracking the pace of work on ongoing projects. And in this regard, he mentioned the one he was inaugurating and the Nandipur Power Project.

He attributed the success to effective monitoring by the ministry and BHCL.