Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday performed the groundbreaking of country’s largest civil nuclear power plant designed to generate 2200MW of electricity. The setting up of the plant is part of a string of projects aimed at overcoming the power shortage, which include wind energy generation of 2500 MW, CASA project of 1000 MW by 2017 and Tarbella-V extension project by 2017.
The government has already initiated work on the Pakistan Power Park at Gaddani in Balochistan, having 10 coal-based power projects of 660 MW each, besides plans to import LNG that will help reduce gas load-shedding from next year. Prime Minister Sharif termed the groundbreaking of the Coastal Power Project K-2 and K-3 “a proud moment in the energy history of Pakistan” and said it was one of the first steps towards the goal of a “load-shedding free” Pakistan.
“I am grateful to the Chinese government for extending help and support to Pakistan in this hour of need,” he said. He described it as a momentous landmark in the long and glorious history of Pak-China friendship and co-operation. “Our mutually beneficial collaboration is spread over a wide range of projects in all geographical terrains, from the heights of the Karakorum to the waters of the Arabian Sea.”
He said the enduring friendship that the two countries enjoyed and the unwavering support that Pakistan had been getting from the Chinese Government at international forums, continued to be a source of great strength. He said the commencement of the project took the strong relationship between the two nations to an even higher level.
The Prime Minister said he had “vowed to toil to see a Pakistan which is secure, democratic, tolerant and with equal opportunities for all; a Pakistan where the business, trade and agriculture flourish; a Pakistan, where the capable and efficient will be treated on merit; where minds are open to new ideas and new ways of development. And this is not a mere dream. It always seems impossible until it is done.” He prayed to Allah Almighty to help him change the destiny of the nation, as he had pledged to the people.
“Insha Allah we are going to realise this dream,” he said. He said his government was fully committed to steering Pakistan to an era of sustained economic growth, which would alleviate poverty and bring a prosperous future for its 180 million people. “We have comprehensive short term as well as long term power plans to put Pakistan back on track of development,” the prime Minister said.
He said the government had decided to construct Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu dams simultaneously, besides building the Bunji dam. These dams have total power generation capacity of 15,000 mega watts from the Indus River, he added. “We are also exploring further avenues to utilise our hydel capacity fully,” he said. Nawaz said nuclear power would become a significant component for achieving sufficiency in energy. He, however, stressed that such projects in other parts of the country required to be taken to meet power needs.
Sharif said he was informed that six additional sites had been identified where similar projects could be set up, and vowed his full support in that regard. He said the project would take 72 months to complete. He, however, urged the engineers to complete it at the earliest because Pakistan needed power for a strong economy.
He said in next few years, he was looking forward to laying a strong and solid foundation for the Nuclear Energy Vision 2050, envisaging nuclear power generation of about 40,000 MW for a strong, prosperous, and dynamic Pakistan. The Prime Minister urged the Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan’s power projects, adding that the government would facilitate them in every way.
He recalled that the contract for the first nuclear power plant of Chinese origin, built at Chashma, was signed by his government during its first term. This laid the foundation of a project-based co-operation between the two countries in the field of nuclear power. “It’s a dividend of clarity and priorities of our government that the international community has welcomed us with open arms. It was not without a reason that China gave me the privilege to visit immediately, once our government was formed,” he added.
The Prime Minister said Karachi, being a major port, had an immense potential. “Today people look with envy towards cities like Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. I wish to see Karachi in this list of harbours and industrial hubs because I believe in the people of this city.” He said the people of Karachi had been yearning for the Federal Government to lend them a helping hand in bringing back its peace and economic activity.
“Alhamd-o-Lillah, we are on the track with co-operation of the provincial government and stakeholders concerned.” The Prime Minister also congratulated the Strategic Plans Division and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission on the groundbreaking of its fifth and the largest power project. “I wish them success in the coming years in the realisation of Energy Vision-2050.”
The Prime Minister ended his speech with some words from the great Chinese leader Chairman Mao’s Red Book, who said -“the people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.” The event was attended by Sindh Governor Ishrat-ul-Ibad, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Wei Dong, PAEC Chairman Dr Ansar Parvaiz, Director General of Strategic Plans Division, Pakistani and Chinese engineers, and officials.