LAHORE - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that since Pakistan has become self-sufficient in defence, the focus of the government is on economic autarky for which untiring efforts are being made.

He said the government could achieve the target of development, progress and prosperity within 10 years provided it was allowed to work uninterruptedly.

These views were expressed by him while addressing a function in connection with the 16th Yaum-e-Takbeer jointly orgainsed by Nazaria-e-Pakistan Trust (NPT) and Tehrkeek-e-Pakistan Workers Trust at Aiwan-e-Karkunan-e-Tehreek-e-Pakistan here on Wednesday.

Nawa-i-Waqt/The Nation Editor-in-Chief and NPT Chairman Dr Majid Nizami presided over the function which was attended among others by Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar, NPT Vice-Chairman Dr Rafiq Ahmad, former president Muhammad Rafiq Tarar, Pakistan Workers Trust Chairman Col (r) Jamshed Ahmad Tarin, former LHC CJ Mian Mahboob Ahmad, NPT Chief Coordinator Mian Farooq Altaf, Lt-Gen (r) Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali and Ch Naeem Hussain Chattha. Shahid Rashid was stage secretary for the function.

The PM said Pakistan wants good relations with its neighbouring countries for peace and development in the region. He said no one should do politics on the government’s endeavours for ending poverty, terrorism and revamping economy; those doing politics on these issues are in fact pursuing the agenda to deprive the people of fruits of better policies and development projects.

Nawaz Sharif who returned home just a day before from an official visit to India where he also held a meeting with his newly-elected counterpart Narendra Modi, was expected to give the account of his visit in this first public interaction, but he only said his India visit was fairly good and the affairs were going on in the right direction. Pakistan would be a centre of peace very soon, he added.

He gave credit to Dr Majid Nizami for ending his confusion over nuclear tests 16 years ago, but regretted that an atomic power should not have such weak economy, poverty, unemployment and extremism as it was in Pakistan. However, he said his government was determined to change the doleful situation and put the problems to an end. He said he was determined to overcome the energy crisis, adding his government had started many projects to produce electricity from hydel, solar, coal and other sources. “My government has barely completed a year and a number of power plants have been set up in the country,” he said, adding they had a futuristic approach about producing energy for such power plants were being set up in view of industrial and domestic needs after 20/25 years. “We will also provide inexpensive electricity as soon as we overcome the energy crisis,” he said. He said problems were gigantic and not easy to deal with, but the government had accepted the challenge to solve them.

The premier said discharging duties with honesty was part of faith to him. He asserted they wanted to end terrorism and maintain peace in the region, so they were desirous of having good ties with the neighbours.

The prime minister said they would work with honesty instead of doing politics. “After four years, our performance will be before the people who, through ballot, will decide who deserves to rule them and can deliver,” he remarked. He questioned why some politicians were pursuing the politics of train march and long march and on whose agenda they were doing it. He said these elements were doing politics of agitation to sabotage the development projects launched by the government. He said his government wanted every province to enjoy the fruits of development and that no part of the country should remain backward. He said, “We have potential to materialise the dreams of Qauid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal, but when a person moves ahead, others begin to pull his legs back. Some politicians are dong politics of 80s and 90s, but time has passed for such politics. Now only the politics of national development will work and people will accept only those who are determined to deliver,” he said.

Again on energy, the PM said at present the shortfall was 5,000MW, but they had initiated a number of projects with the help of China. He said in Thar the amount of coal reserves was enough to produce up to one lakh megawatts of electricity.

The premier lambasted the former rulers for delaying the energy projects which multiplied their cost as they preferred their own interests to the national ones, recklessly wasting public money. He vowed he would not let even a single penny of the nation go waste. He also told the gathering that work on Lahore-Karachi motorway would be started soon and Rs 50 billion had been released to acquire land for this purpose.

The PM also mentioned his government’s steps for fair auction of 3G and 4G technology, Gwadar to Khunjrab road, Gwadar development as a port city on the pattern of Dubai and Singapore, 16 percent increase in tax revenue collection, GSP status, textile city, boost in the forex, orange line train, youth loan scheme, metro bus service, laptop scheme for students, Karachi Mass Transit Project, devaluation of dollar against rupee and free education scheme for students and others. He reiterated these schemes and projects would change destiny of the nation. He confidently said that all energy and other projects would be completed during his tenure.

In the end, Dr Majid Nizami presented a shield to the prime minister.