ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday asked the Ministry of Water and Power to recover the outstanding dues of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) from all the federal and provincial governments, departments and private sector entities, without any discrimination.
He said in case there is default from the government departments, the Ministry of Finance should consider deducting the outstanding dues through federal adjuster.
Chairing the first meeting of federal cabinet here, the prime minister said he had already instructed the Ministry of Petroleum to ensure un-interrupted supply of 28,000 ton furnace oil daily to the power sector. It will add 1200 MW of electricity to the National Grid System, he said.
He said the issue of energy shortage was not only hitting the common man by disrupting daily life but also adversely affecting the industrial and agricultural sectors’ productivity.
The prime minister directed the management of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), (WAPDA), Pakistan Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills to focus on their operational efficiency.
The prime minister asked these departments to cut down their non-development and wasteful expenses and bring in qualified professionals in order to meet modern day management challenges.
The prime minister paid tributes to his predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, for his principled stand to protect the Constitution. He said, “In my opinion, the policy of my martyred leaders, was followed by him. We will continue to seek his guidance, as we move on.” “Pakistan Peoples Party strongly believes that politics of confrontation should be shunned for which all democratic forces need to show sincerity of purpose, prudence and maturity, allowing space to their opponents,” he added.
He said there were numerous challenges which were very serious in nature and if not addressed effectively and properly, could even shake the foundations of democracy.
In order to sustain and strengthen democracy, this Cabinet will have to grapple with the issues and problems with zeal and dynamism, he added.
He said due to negative propaganda, the country’s people were disheartened by the confusion that had befallen upon them in the last few weeks.
“We have to do something special to pull the nation out of dejection and galvanize them into activity and forward movement.”
Ashraf said as part of Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) reconciliatory policy, he was pleased to again invite all political parties to move forward and join hands with him.
He said his Cabinet will generally work in continuation of the policy already in place, with some necessary adjustments as may be warranted by the changing situation.
The prime minister said during the PPP tenure, the agriculture sector gave support to the economy and from wheat importing country, the country became a wheat exporting country.
He mentioned that the import bill on sugar had declined drastically due to increase in sugar production and rice export.
He said the exports were 19.6 billion US $ in FY 2010-11 and have now reached 25.4 billion US $ in FY 2011-12.
Ashraf said Pakistan is a peace loving country, which values its relations with the Islamic world, United States, China, European Union, Japan and all its neighbours including India and Afghanistan.
He said his government was mindful of the fact that extremism, militancy, intolerance, sectarian violence and terrorism, all put together, had posed a serious challenge to our sovereignty, security and national cohesion.
“We as a nation have to thwart the sinister designs of these forces and the government on its part will work with lot of dedication to establish the writ of the State, wherever they operate,” he added.
He said, “We will not let our land to be used against any country for any terrorist activity. Simultaneously, we would expect our neighbours and other powers to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan.”
Commenting on Pakistan-US ties, he said the relations are passing through a very delicate and critical phase and “we will not take hasty and emotional decisions that do not auger well.”
On an un-provoked attack on Salalah check post, he said an un-conditional apology from the US for this blatant attack was the demand of the Parliament and “we shall proceed always keeping our national interests in view.”