My Dear Brothers, Sisters and respected Elders,
While addressing you today, I am filled with the feelings of immense gratitude and indebtness to Almighty Allah. I am thankful to you from the core of my heart for reposing your confidence in me and my party. To me your confidence means a great responsibility and a sacred trust. I assumed the office of the Prime Minister in June and I was eager to speak out my heart as soon as possible. I wanted to share with you my long cherished dreams and intentions about the prosperity and development of the country. But after taking over the office, I realized that the situation was far worse than what I expected it to be.
The gravity of the situation demanded that instead of making speeches, I must deeply analyze the wounds inflicted on Pakistan and explore the ways and means to heal them. Not a single moment has passed in the last two and a half months that I have not reflected on how to meet the present challenges. Not a single day has passed without brooding on how to eliminate the menace of terrorism, relieve the nation from load-shedding and other problems.
My Dear Brothers!
We should not close our eyes to the fact that presently Pakistan is facing very serious problems. On one hand the ever increasing terrorism has put the country at stake, on the other, the worst load-shedding has crippled our economy.
During the last 14 years, worst governance, widespread corruption, incompetence, nepotism and wrong policies have shattered the very foundations of the country.
Whether it is PIA, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steel, WAPDA or any other institution, all are at the verge of collapse and total disaster. There was a time when we used to be proud these institutions. Supporting the national exchequer in the past, these institutions are now causing a loss of Rs. 500 billion to the country, i.e. these institutions have eaten up Rs. 2500 billion of national wealth during the last 5 years. All this amount is the return of your sweat and toil. Had this money not been wasted, we could built a new PIA and Railways with it. A new motorway could have been constructed from Karachi toLahore and more than 2 million houses could have been built. We could have provided clean drinking water to all the villages of the country. Similarly, we could have established prestigious universities and hospitals. Not only this, but we could do away with the power crisis for ever.
By June 1999, that was till the end of our last government, Pakistan’s total debt liability was only Rs. 3000 billion. Just imagine that this amount has increased to Rs.14,500 billion during the past 14 years. Now the tragedy is that we have to borrow additional amount to pay heavy installments of these loans. God forbid, if we fail to repay, the country may become insolvent.
I do not want to dwell into details of the past corruption in this address; but I do want to give you at least two examples of the insensitiveness and plunder which are directly related to power generation and load-shedding. An electricity generation project was initiated with Chinese assistance in 2007 at Nandipur. Billions of rupees were spent on the installation and import of machinery for this project. This was the time that the nation was facing the worst load-shedding and people were desperate for every single unit of electricity.
But the greediness of few people blocked the way of this project. Machinery worth billions of rupees kept rusting at Karachi Port, so much so that the copper inside the cables was also stolen. In this way, a project of 425 MW was destroyed.
After taking over the office, we resumed work on this project without wasting anytime. But the project cost has escalated from Rs. 23 billion to Rs. 59 billion during the elapsed time.
Resultantly, this project will now not only cost an additional amount of Rs. 36 billion but also face a delay of 6 years in its completion.
The story of Neelum Jhelum project is also not much different. Initiated a number of years ago, this project of 970 MW was to be completed in 6 years time. But the way this project of national importance was subjected to ill-administration and inaptitude is a cause of sorrowful concern.
This project will now cost Rs.274 billion instead of Rs. 85 billion. I have given necessary directions for completion of this project by 2016. You will hardly believe that the feasibility of this project did not include plan for transmission of the electricity generated to the consumers. When I visited the project, the concerned staff had no answer to the question as to how the electricity generated by this project would be supplied. A project of 3 years is needed for laying transmission lines only. I have directed that this aspect should be included in the main project and necessary work be started immediately. You can imagine that had we not taken this step, electricity could not be supplied to household and industries even after completion of the generation facility, thereby leading to wastage of billions of rupees investment.
Now I would like to inform you on steps that we have taken to control load-shedding. You are well aware of the problem of circular debt, due to which the power plants were unable to produce electricity to their full capacity.
Despite miserable financial situation of the exchequer, we have paid Rs. 480 billion to these units. These payments have resulted in an increase of 1700 MW in electricity generation. One of the main reasons of load-shedding is pilferage of gas and electricity, which according to experts amount to Rs. 150 to 250 billion annually. This is an open plunder of national resources.
We have undertaken a full fledged anti-theft drive against the culprits, which is still going on with firm determination. Insha Allah, the government will deal with such persons strictly. The culture of loot is over now.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I would like to share that after thorough hard work and labour, and with the consensus of all the provincial governments, we were able to formulate mutually agreed energy policy.
The approval of this policy is a milestone in our efforts to control electricity crisis. Alhamdullilah, the Federal and Provincial governments are united and in agreement over the solution for overcoming power crisis.
My dear Brothers and Sisters!
I do not want to keep you in dark about the fact that despite payment of circular debt, controlling theft and other administrative measures, we shall not be able to do away with electricity emergency. For this purpose, we have upgraded the sources of power generation. The problem is that this is not possible right away. It would take a minimum of 3-4 years to install a coal based power producing unit, while 8-10 years for a hydel unit. Considering these facts, we have to take some basic decisions without further wasting time.
I will, Insha Allah, soon give you the good news of inaugurating a 6600 MW project at Gaddani. Similarly, development work will commence on electricity projects at Thar.
I am confident that with accelerated pace of work power crisis will continue to wither away and we shall, Insha Allah be able to do away with load-shedding completely.
This was just a summary of what we have done on the electricity front during the past 9 weeks. Though partly, but there has been certainly a marked improvement in the situation because of these measures.
Very truly, by the grace of God Almighty, had me and my team not worked day and night on this front, the situation would have improved earlier.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Terrorism, like load-shedding, is also the outcome of wrong policies and ulterior motives. It is a pity that so far more than 40 thousand nationals including Pak Army, Police, Law enforcing agencies and innocent civilians have perished. The relic of our Quaid at Ziarat was destroyed with bombs. Our schools and worship places are bathed with blood. The worst of all is that we do not find ourselves capable enough to restrict the culprits or even identify them, to spot their hideouts and take them to task. What does this all mean? Shall we call it incompetence or insensitiveness? Whatever we name it,Pakistan can not tolerate this anymore.
Time has come that we should be brave enough to call a spade a spade. We should admit that our administrative and security agencies and the system of our punishment and reward has failed to come up to our expectation against the challenge of terrorism. Had this been not the case, today there would have been no bloodshed, bomb-blasts and fires in the country.
The nation has the genuine right to ask as to why tangible and meaningful steps were not taken in the past to stop the widespread killings in the country?
Who is not cognizant of the fact that the terrorists easily escape to this hideouts after playing with innocent lives on busy streets.
Even if some terrorists are held, those who hold them are overtaken by horror. Professional expertise, personal interest and devotion are not employed in the process of investigation even after apprehending the culprits. And when the cases go to the courts of law, the judiciary often seem to avoid hearing of such cases. The witnesses are also confronted with the same situation and appear terrified with fear. On the other hand, jails are broken and the terrorist succeed in fleeing away their companions.
I sincerely invited the political parties, after elections, to cooperate with the government in addressing the problems the country is facing. This offer of mutual consultation and reconciliation is not limited to political parties only. I am going even a step further to hold dialogue with those who have unfortunately adopted extremism. We have more than one option to deal with terrorists; but wisdom and mind-set demand such a way out as to avoid further loss of innocent lives.
Being the Prime Minister, every Pakistani is my kith and kin. I can not shoulder the funerals of my sons every day. Like every Pakistani, I want an early end to this bloodshed, whether it is through the process of dialogue or heavy use of the state force. All the institutions of the country are unanimously united on this national issue.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I am fully aware that the security threats and other national problems are related to our foreign policy in one or the other. We have to seriously consider, that so far what are our gains and losses due to foreign policy.
Undoubtedly, our foreign policy demands a brave revision without which we can not spend our national resources on the wellbeing and prosperity of the people and we could not become Asian Tigers. We must have become Asian Tigers if our momentum progress and development had not been stopped in 1999. Our economy was on the top in the region. Our currency was no. one in the region. We shall take time to be on the same track again, but I assure you that we will certainly achieve our goals.
Kashmir is the lifeline of Pakistan and is our national issue, and its solution is dear to me as it is to every Pakistani. We have to keep this fact always in mind that without making Pakistan economically strong, we can not achieve any of our targets.
In order to relieve the people of India and Pakistan from poverty and illiteracy, it is incumbent on the leadership of both the countries to sit together and ponder over these issues.
Wars in the past have pushed us back. The world history has proved that development and prosperity lie in the peaceful and friendly relations among neighbouring countries.
For this reason, we want to maintain friendly relations with India. I have always given high priority to good relations with India for the sake of durable peace in the region and the nation has endorsed this standpoint during the recent elections. Both the countries should now realize that we should spend our energies to alleviate poverty, ignorance and diseases instead of fruitless wars. I also want to make it clear that the Pakistani nation is always ready to defend its mother land shoulder to shoulder with the Pak. Army.
We have to re-prioritize our policy with respect to Afghanistan. We have to devise such a strategy as to introduce Pakistan in the world with a bright new face.
I have very clearly expressed my viewpoint that the Drone attacks are an open violation of Pakistan’s national sovereignty and independence. The attacks are also against international law and humanitarian principles. I also took up this issue with the USSecretary of State John Kerry and stated to him regarding immediate halting of Drone Attacks. The United Nations Secretary General also condemned the killing of innocent civilians in these attacks and unequivocally declared them as violative of international laws.
I have informed the American government about the gravity and importance of these attacks. I am ever confident that the independence and sovereignty of the Pakistanwill be dully respected.
The present situation in Balochistan is matter of grave concern for every Pakistani. Whoever the ruthless killers may be, it is clear that the victims of their brutality are innocent Pakistanis. I can not reconcile with the idea as to how Balochistan was dragged into such a situation? How is it possible that Balochistan was burning with bloodshed and we were its mere witness? The soil of Balochistan demands answers to these questions. I want to tell you that the era of insensitiveness and indifference is now over. Gone are the days when Balochistan was ignored.
I want to make it clear at this moment that the Federal Government will provide all necessary resources and assistance to the elected political government of Balochistan to control the ongoing bloodshed and accelerate the pace of development work in the province. I must tell you that PML-N could easily form its government in Balochistan but we preferred not to do so. By doing so we did not do any favour to anyone. Balochistan and Pakistan are very dear to Nawaz Sharif. Governments come and go, the existence of the state is more important than the government. Though the C.M & Governor Balochisan are from other political parties but I own them and believe that they are our allies.
The present situation in Karachi is also a matter of concern for every Pakistani. I am sure that the provincial government will take meaningful steps to control lawlessness and killings on permanent footings. Pakistan’s largest city and the hub of economic activity cannot be left at the mercy of criminals. Karachi was a city of peace and tranquility and this identity should be restored at all cost. The Federal government is ever ready to extend all possible help to the provincial government in this regard.
I consider the government of PPP in Sindh as my own government. I would be the happiest person when C.M. and Governor Sindh and I myself perform the ground breaking of underground metro train in Karachi.
The bright future of Pakistan and the prosperity of its people is not possible without strong and stable economy. As I have already mentioned that without putting an end to power crisis and terrorism, Pakistan can not progress.
For this purpose, an increase in domestic and foreign investment is a pre-requisite. After assuming the office, this was the purpose of my immediate visit to China. Apart from agreements in Power Sector various other agreements were also signed with Chinese leadership. The most important agreement among them is the construction of highway from Kashgar to Gawadar. A railway track will also be constructed alongside the highway in future. New industrial and economic zones will be constructed along this highway and it will usher Pakistan into a new era of progress and prosperity and will prove to be a game changer.
We also signed an agreement to construct Lahore-Karachi Motorway with Chinese. We shall be proud to have a motorway connecting the entire country fromKarachi to Peshawar. I look forward and hope that this motorway connects Kabul, Central Asia and the entire SAARC countries with each other.
I assure you that the Kashgar-Gwadar economic Corridor will not only be beneficial to Pakistan but will bring a revolutionary change in the destinies of the people of the whole region.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I want to clearly state that I am not satisfied with the performance of the administrative machinery. Whether it is the power crisis or any other area of national life.Pakistan can no more bear the menace of corruption and incompetence. I consider sluggishness as a cancer. Now only those officers will command respect who consider serving humanity and provision of justice to people as part of their belief in Allah. The administrative machinery in Pakistan will now have no room for lethargic and corrupt workers. I can not build a great Pakistan with this rusted machinery.
My Dear Countrymen!
I have openly disclosed my heart to you. We are one nation and one family. You know that when a calamity befalls on a family, all the members face it collectively. Today, Pakistan is passing through very difficult times. To face these difficult challenges, we have to take difficult decisions for the wellbeing and prosperity of the country. I assure you that my government will not play politics on the issues of power crisis and terrorism.
We have to take effective measures to save the national institutions from incurring losses worth billions of rupees. I am well aware of the obstacles ahead. But now every single penny of national exchequer will be spent as a sacred deposit. Insha Allah, our firm determination will never wither away. I will always need your cooperation to deal with the difficult challenges. It is not possible to stop the advancing flood of terrorism without your active support. Obviously we have to lay sacrifices and bear losses in this endeavor. I assure you that my government will not do any politics on economic policies, terrorism and energy issues.
My Dear Youth of the Country!
Today I especially want to address you as you are the precious asset ofPakistan. I will never forget the spirit that you demonstrated during the recent elections and the love that you expressed for me. I wish to provide full opportunities to the Pakistani youth to play its effective role in the development of the country. We have decided to adopt such strategies as to enable you to stand on your own feet and make your own living. I will Insha Allah, very soon announce the details of the programme devised for our youth. We have to relieve our people from the vicious circle of poverty and backwardness. I want the youth to play their active role in rebuilding the nation. I can see the vigour and energy in our youth to do so.
I want that more than one person should be an earning hand in every family ofPakistan.
I want to give you another good news at this occasion. We have prepared a scheme of low cost houses for the low income families. To provide a safe living abode to his family is the cherished dream of every individual. We have decided to make this dream a reality for every body. I gladly announce that during the next 5 years the low income and homeless people in all provinces of Pakistan would possess a house of their own equipped with all modern facilities. Insha Allah, I will announce the details of this scheme in October this year.
I want to state that our endevours are not limited to curbing terrorism and eliminating load-shedding only, but I and my team are actively busy in working out ways and means to get rid of all other existing problems. These endevours also include matters relating to minorities and woman empowerment.
I am also concerned about health, education, clean drinking water issues and other matters of daily life.
Although many of these issues fall under the purview of provincial governments, yet I will keep you informed about planning and progress on these issues. I would also need your suggestions and proposals in this respect.
I want to especially mention the flood affected countrymen. The Federal government is ever ready to extend all possible help to the affected people. The provincial governments are expected that they will leave no stone unturned in taking care of the accommodation, food, medical assistance and fulfilling other needs the affected population. I appeal to the whole nation to come forward and help their brethren adhering to the great Islamic and national traditions. We need to demonstrate national spirit and harmony in this hour of distress.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I spoke to you from the core of my heart. In the end, I want to stress that by mere dreaming we can not grow flowers in the desert. By mere wishing we can not achieve anything. The ways to prosperity and development are filled with thorns and need sacrifices. I am confident in my heart that despite immense difficulties and problems, we can build the Pakistan of our dreams. We have to be resolute for this purpose. We have to overcome our shortcomings and weaknesses and lay sacrifices for our promising future.
The problems are not larger than our spirit and our faith in Allah. There are no doubt difficulties but not greater than our determination.
Our destination is far but we have the necessary resources to reach there. I have full confidence in our faith, your spirit and above all the help from Almighty Allah. I have the intuition that Pakistan of Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah is entering a new era of prosperity. I can see the clouds of backwardness clearing away and an era of prosperity is about to dawn. I can feel that the sacrifices of our innocent people are bearing fruit.
Let us face the difficulties and move forward. We are under the shade of the blessing of Holy Prophet and the mercy of Allah. Insha Allah, every new day will dawn with a new hope and prosperity for us.
May Allah be our saviour. Ameen. Pakistan Zindabad
Last modified: November 21, 2019
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