PM okays 2,000MW solar projects in public sector – Business

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has green-lighted the construction of solar power projects of 2,000 megawatts in the public sector to generate low-cost and environment-friendly electricity and directed officials to ensure citizens get uninterrupted gas during the winter.

Separately, in a ceremony at the US embassy in Islamabad, the premier urged Washington to forget the past and revive bilateral relations. He also criticised PTI chief Imran Khan for practically derailing the multibillion-dollar CPEC project through a months-long sit-in that brought the capital to a standstill.

Presiding over a meeting on Thursday, Mr Sharif reviewed progress on the installation of 10,000MW solar projects across the country that the government aims to build in its attempt to cut the import bill of costly diesel and furnace oil.

Under the project, agricultural tube wells would be converted to solar power on an urgent basis, he said, adding that the solar power projects would also help overcome the perennial issues of line losses, power theft, and circular debt.

Slams Imran at US embassy for ‘delaying’ CPEC, urges Washington to revive relations

The prime minister, who was briefed in detail on solar projects, told the meeting the government would give a sovereign guarantee to the companies investing in such ventures. The meeting was informed that an investors’ conference on solarisation was held on Sept 14, which was attended by local and international firms, including from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Qatar.

‘Let bygones be bygones’, PM tells US

Urging the United States not to see Pakistan-US relations through the “prism of Afghanistan” or the “lens of China”, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was delayed due to a months-long PTI sit-in in 2014.

“CPEC was delayed due to the dharna of Imran Khan,” the prime minister said at the diplomatic reception held at the US embassy in Islamabad to commemorate the 75 years of relations between Pakistan and the US.

Mr Sharif’s remarks came as the PTI chairman accused the US and Pakistan’s military establishment for what he called “hatching an international conspiracy to topple his four-year-long government” in April.

He vowed to revive bilateral relations with the United States by forgetting the past. “I want to say this very sincerely today that we want to build and reset these relations back to normal on the basis of trust, respect and mutual understanding,” he said. “Let bygones be bygones. As I said, there will be a lot what your [US] side will want to say […] but as long as we renew this friendship with sincere and serious dialogue, I can assure you that nothing will go wrong,” he added.

In another meeting he chaired earlier on Thursday, the premier directed officials to chalk out an urgent action plan to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to consumers in winter, especially during cooking hours.

He warned that any negligence and maladministration in this regard would not be tolerated.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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