PMLN Power Projects

Thursday, March 06, 2014
Ali Zaidi
Since the day this PMLN government has taken the country over, one thing that it has worked at most vigilantly, is its goal of getting rid of load shedding in Pakistan. Not only has the government started several new power projects but has also vowed in the investors from all parts of the world to invest in the energy sector. The first major breakthrough came during Prime Minister’s visit to China where he signed deals with the Chinese companies worth several billions of dollars in this regard.
Chief Minister Punjab Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif was also up on this task. Being the Chief Minister of the largest province of the country, he had worked upon several plans during his last tenure in this field. Unfortunately, due to poor relations between his government and the PPP’s in the federation there was not much progress on those projects. However, since his elder brother, Mian Nawaz Sharif, has taken over the government in the federation, the progress on these projects has been phenomenal.
Shehbaz Sharif also accompanied PM Nawaz Sharif on his visit to China and was able to win over the Chinese company, which had left the Nandipur Power Project earlier because of the lack of cooperation displayed by the PPP government. Nandipur Power Project along with the Chichon Ki Maliyan Power Project was restarted and the former’s first phase will be completed by the end of May, 2014. The project will be completed by the end of this year and will add 450 Mega Watts to the national grid.
Pakistan’slargest nuclear power plant was also inaugurated by the Prime Minister near Karachi in November last year. It will be generating 2200 MW of electricity and the Prime Minister promised that the government plans to set up six nuclear power projects till 2050 generating 40,000 Mega Watts of electricity for the country.
First ever energy policy was devised by the government which gave the guiding principles as well as the road map to achieve the goals set by the government in order to end the energy crisis. It included new hydel, nuclear, solar and thermal power generation projects and each was discussed thoroughly by the document.
A major breakthrough was made last month during Chief Minister Punjab’s visit to China along with other senior members of the Federal Cabinet. In this visit, China promised to invest 20 billion dollars during the next five years in the energy sector and 10 billion dollars in other projects making the total investment to 30 billion USD. Prime Minister also went to Thar where he inaugurated the Thar Coal Power Project along with the former President Asif Ali Zardari. Not only did this gesture prove that the political process is maturing in Pakistan but also proved that the aggressive energy policy of Pakistan Muslim League (N) has waken other parties up as well.
Strong campaign against the electricity theft was also launched by the government. Although this campaign stirred a controversy between the Minister and the KP-K government of PTI, yet the government made considerable gains. Crackdown launched against the criminals helped government to catch thousands of criminals. According to the report published in The Express Tribune on November 22, 2013, government had filed 3933 criminal cases in Punjab only against such criminals after catching them.
Government has been making all the efforts in order to end the energy crisis in the country which has haunted Pakistan for the last several years. Although previous governments failed to make any significant effort in this regard, yet the projects started by PMLN clearly show that the current regime is bent on correcting whatever had went wrong during previous regimes. From terrorism to education and from infrastructure to economy, PMLN has taken all the right decisions so far and it is hoped that if this government completes its five year tenure, at the end of it, Pakistan will come out much stronger and much progressive than the past.
Ali Zaidi is a political blogger. He tweets at @ali_raa