In a big move to facilitate the general public, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday announced an end to load shedding of electricity across the country from May 1.
The prime minister, also known as ‘Shehbaz Speed’ for his efficiency to deliver at a fast pace, declared that the government had operationalised 20 out of 27 major power plants, which were catching rust for a year.
Chairing a high-level meeting to devise a policy to address the shortage of electricity, Shehbaz said the step was an ‘Eid gift’ to the public who had been suffering due to frequent power outages in the summer.
The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to resolve all issues pertaining to load shedding by April 30 so as to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted power supply to consumers.
He stressed the need for establishing an integrated and sustainable fuel system to meet the requirements of power generation and also a plan keeping in view the hot season in particular.
Shehbaz called for a long-term effective plan to eliminate the loss of feeders of distribution companies.
He took notice of the complaints of artificial shortage of diesel during the harvest season and directed the relevant authorities to identify the perpetrators and ensure strict action. He also ordered them to ensure an uninterrupted supply of diesel to farmers to run agricultural machinery and urged the district administration in rural areas to facilitate the farmers.
The meeting was informed that the re-operationalisation of 20 power plants had increased power generation.
It was pointed out that the previous government did not purchase fuel for power plants in four years, which led to load shedding.
However, the government of PM Shehbaz within two weeks managed the availability of fuel, besides increasing the capacity of electricity generation.
It was informed that the total power generation in the country was about 18,500 megawatts, while the shortfall was between 500 megawatts and 2,000 megawatts.
The prime minister was also briefed in detail on the loss-making feeders of the distribution companies.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and relevant senior officials.
Shehbaz Sharif, soon after assuming his office, had ordered to operationalise power plants in the country that were shut down due to lack of fuel or other technical glitches.
He had also ordered the authorities concerned to address other causes of load shedding, including negligence in timely repair and lack of maintenance of power plants.
Separately, Shehbaz Sharif stressed the need for joint efforts, coupled with unity and solidarity, to steer the Muslim ummah out of issues of poverty and unemployment, and to further promote bilateral trade and investment for economic prosperity.
The prime minister also underscored the significance of further strengthening the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) by making it more active.
During an iftar dinner hosted for the ambassadors of the Muslim countries in Pakistan, the prime minister called for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Palestine and Kashmir to rid the Muslims of the ongoing atrocities.
While felicitating the ambassadors on the holy month of Ramazan, and said they had gathered to give a message of unity and harmony.
He also expressed the resolve to work for further fostering bonds of brotherhood, mutual respect and unity among the Muslim countries.
The prime minister said the month of Ramazan gave a message of sacrifice and supporting each other, adding that whether it was in the field of politics, trade or investment, there was much need for evolving combined thoughts, mutual consultations and unity among the Muslim world.