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Mainstreaming of Fata to begin after legislation: PM

Mainstreaming of Fata to begin after legislation: PM

SPINWAM: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday that the process for bringing Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into the national mainstream would be initiated soon after a proper legislation.

Mr Sharif, who performed the groundbreaking of the Kurram Tangi dam in the North Waziristan Agency of Fata, was addressing a ceremony on the occasion.

He said development of Fata was the government’s priority and it would get its due share in the National Finance Com­mission award. The centre and all provinces would fulfil their responsibilities for the development of the tribal areas, he added.

He said the Kurram Tangi dam project was an important milestone in the development of Fata.

Mr Sharif said it was high time for all to shun political rivalries and focus their energy on eliminating poverty and illiteracy from the country.

“It is the need of the hour to refrain from negative politics and get united in the interest of Pakistan,” he added. The prime minister said the unity among people could help overcome difficult challenges and make the country economically strong.

“History will be inscribed with the fact whether someone made positive or negative contribution for the country,” he said, adding: “When it comes to Pakistan’s interest, all need to stand by each other.”

Mr Sharif said that even terrorism, being the toughest of challenges, was addressed with the unity of the nation as well as consensus of all political forces and the military.

“Now we have to stay united for the prosperity of the country after defeating the menace of terrorism,” he said.

He recalled that the people of North Waziristan and the armed forces had rendered immense sacrifices for the elimination of terrorism, which ultimately led to peace in the area.

“After an era of horror and fright, a new dawn of love and peace has come to North Waziristan,” he added.

The prime minister said his government was pursuing an effective agriculture and water management policy and building dams even on small rivers.

He regretted that previous governments had ignored this key sector and no large dam was built after Tarbela during the past 40 years.

He said his government had taken solid steps for dam-related projects, including Diamer-Bhasha, Neelum-Jhelum, Dasu and Bunji.

Mr Sharif said he had directed the authorities concerned to expedite electricity generation projects, adding that “loadshedding will soon become a tale of the past”.

He said Pakistan was a resource-rich country and it could make revolutionary progress provided the judicious and prudent utilisation of resources. “We can make our destiny ourselves and I believe that a magnificent future is awaiting us.”

The prime minister said as the construction work on Chashma Right Bank Canal was also being initiated soon, this project would bring about a revolutionary change in this area by irrigating thousands of acres of barren land.

He said the irrigation of lands would help generate ample resources for the country, develop every sector of the economy, expand industrial activities, encourage the import of industrial equipment and machinery, augment exports, enhance the inflows of foreign exchange and check inflation.

The prime minister said inflation had already come down as compared to what it was during the tenures of previous governments.

He said with 12 to 16 hours of electricity loadshedding, there was darkness in the country in previous years, adding that in such a situation no one could imagine of achieving any socio-economic progress and industrial development.

Now due to the present government’s efforts not only the duration of loadshedding had come down to three to four hours for domestic consumers, but industries were also being supplied electricity round the clock, he added.

Moreover, the prime minister said electricity was being provided at cheaper rates, so that growers and industrialists could compete and have better returns for their produce.

He said various power projects of thousands of megawatts were being installed and completed at a fast pace under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including coal and LNG-based and solar and wind projects.

He said for the first time coal from Thar in Sindh would be utilised for power projects. Why it did not happen in the past, he questioned.

Mr Sharif said the Neelum Jhelum project had been lingering on for the last 10 years, which augmented the cost of the project manifold.

But now the work on that project was under way on a fast pace and it would add 960MW of electricity to the national grid by February 2018, he added.

The delay on such projects of national importance was very unfortunate, as precious time and public money was wasted, he remarked.

The prime minister said with a network of roads, highways and motorways being constructed across the country from Peshawar to Karachi and Gwadar to Khunjerab, Fata, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), the wheel of progress was moving fast.

He said all the political forces and provinces should join hands and make joint efforts for the development of Fata, AJK and GB.

He also referred to Kachhi Canal Project in Balochistan and said it would irrigate 72,000 acres of land.

“Revolution is coming throughout Pakistan,” he added.

The prime minister said his government had initiated the Lahore- Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway project in 1991. Had this concept continued, Pakistan would have become the Asian Tiger today.

However, he said his government after coming to power in 2013 again started work on motorways and after the completion of various sections, now the work was under way on the Karachi-Hyderabad and Multan-Sukkur sections of the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway.

He said under the CPEC project motorway was being constructed from Mirpur to Muzaffarabad, which would be linked to Mansehra and Khunjrab.

He said tunnels worth billions of rupees were constructed to link Khunjrab with rest of the country.

The prime minister said his government had provided Rs25 billion for Lowari Tunnel Project at Chakdara-Chitral Road, which was lingering on for the last 50 years.

This project would now be completed after four months.

Recalling his government achievements, he said making tall claims was very easy but to translate the dreams into reality needed practical steps.

Similarly, he said, the Golen Gol Hydropower Project in Chitral would generate 106MW electricity, which would change the fate of that area through enhanced industrial and agricultural activities.

The present government had pumped in unprecedented over Rs1,000bn for road projects across the country, the prime minister said.

The prime minister said the Kurram Tangi dam would be completed at a cost of Rs123bn, out of which Rs81bn would be provided by the United States government through USAID and the rest by the Pakistan government.

The project will be implemented in two stages. Stage-I will be completed in about three years. The project is a significant development towards water and energy security in the country.

The Kurram Tangi dam is a significant project for the country as it will provide water for irrigated agriculture in North Waziristan Agency and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, mitigate floods and generate hydel electricity.

The project will not only help cope with increasing requirements of water and electricity in the country but also usher in an area of socio-economic development in the far-flung and backward areas of North Waziristan Agency and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2017

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