Attempts to Obstruct Country’s Development Foiled: Nawaz Sharif

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that recent attempts by protesting parties to obstruct the country’s development process have been foiled. Talking to newsmen after addressing an energy conference here on Thursday, he said in fact the protests were not against the government but an attempt to derail the country.

.A stable and developed Pakistan is in the interest of all political parties and future governments. Mr Sharif said energy was a major challenge and all political parties needed to work in cooperation to meet it. In his speech at the conference, the prime minister expressed the hope that deliberations would enable the government to make necessary adjustments in its policy to align it with international best practices and create a suitable environment for investment. The conference has been organised by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the high commissions of both countries and Pakistan’s Board of Investment.

The primary objective of discussions and deliberations, Mr Sharif said, was to share ideas and international best practices and enable policy-makers and investors to formulate an optimal energy policy for Pakistan. “We will not only discuss electricity generation and distribution but also explore ways to promote public-private partnership in the energy sector.” He said the government would also like to know the incentives and policy framework which could spur private investment in Pakistan’s oil and gas sectors. The prime minister said he remained committed to transforming the government’s role from a manager to a regulator.

He said over the past decades, revolution in technology and communications had transformed Pakistan’s traditional concepts of time and space. Changes in the price of North Sea oil have affected the stock market in Pakistan with the same rapidity as the effects of an outbreak of a lethal virus. “In an integrated world, we need to find shared solutions for shared problems.” He said inclusive economic development required substantial investment in an efficient public infrastructure. “Energy and communication infrastructures form the backbone of industrial and social progress of any society, and it is mostly the private sector led investments that have resulted in sustainable economic progress.”

Mr Sharif said he had no doubt that Pakistan was on the verge of rapid economic and social progress, despite facing massive energy shortages. “This is a challenge that cannot be resolved with a patchwork of temporary measures, but requires a fundamental change in both policy and governance structures. My successful experience of promoting public-private partnerships in banking and telecommunication sectors encourages me to pursue the same approach for the energy sector,” he said. -dawn