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'Tough decisions' needed to save country: Nawaz

08 July, 2013

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GUANGZHOU: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his government is making all out efforts to overcome the energy crisis, but tough decisions will have to be made to steer the country out of this crisis, and that the government will not hesitate to do so.

Talking to newsmen in Guangzhou, he said his talks with the Chinese leadership remained highly beneficial and productive.

The prime minister said that Chinese authorities were worried about the safety of their citizens in Pakistan, and he had assured them that his government would provide foolproof security to them.

He said the Gwadar-Kashgar economic corridor was an important milestone in the history of Pak-China friendship and "we will ensure its completion as early as possible". He said this project would benefit three billion people in the region.

Nawaz Sharif said the Karachi-Lahore motorway was another important project signed during his visit.

The prime minister said he had held useful talks with Chinese companies for setting up underground railway system in Karachi and running a fast train between Peshawar and Karachi.

He said the gap in the supply and demand of electricity in the country had tremendously increased and load shedding was affecting the industrial, agricultural and business sectors. He said his visit had been much successful to woo Chinese companies to invest in the power sector of Pakistan to help the country overcome the energy crisis.

The prime minister stressed the need for working together to combat the menace of terrorism. He said the government, security agencies and the people would have to work collectively to curb terrorism effectively. He said the killing of foreign tourists in Diamer had badly damaged the image of Pakistan.

"We have to improve the security situation to ensure peace in the country." He said Pakistan was passing through a difficult time and "we need to take decisions accordingly".

Nawaz also said he would set up a 'China Cell' in his office, tasked with supervision of all the development projects to be executed with the cooperation of Chinese firms in Pakistan.

He said the cell would be of a specific nature, overseeing and pursuing the execution of such development projects to steer the country out of the present issues.

On the energy shortfall, the prime minister said that Chinese companies would invest in the energy sector in Pakistan, and that the shortage existed because the previous governments did not address the issue.

The PM also asked a prominent Chinese company to provide suggestions and assistance in curbing power line losses, theft and pilferage in Pakistan.

The prime minister held a meeting with China Southern Power Grid (CSG) President Zhao Jianguo. The PM told him that they were working on building power plants based on coal, solar and wind resources, and added that Pakistan was blessed with abundant water resources and coal reservoirs to generate energy.

He said that they were in touch with Chinese companies, already working in this sector.

He said it would take time, but for the moment, they were working upon plans to cut down line losses, power theft and pilferage. The PM on the occasion sought suggestions from Zhao Jianguo in this regard.

The company's president agreeing with the request said that proper management and supervision coupled with application of stringent laws could help reduce this menace. To a question posed by the prime minister, he said that in China, line losses had been slashed down from 6 percent to 1 percent.

He said that his company was ready to provide help to Pakistan in addressing the problem of line losses, theft and pilferage. The prime minister asked him to provide consultancy so that the existing bonds of friendship could be further strengthened.

End.

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