| Shehbaz Sharif blames previous Imran-govt for current energy crisis | Orders to provide financial assistance to fire-affected farmers in Sialkot

| Announces 2-month remission in sentences of prisoners on Eid-ul-Fitr | Visits Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute, Ramazan bazaar | Calls lack of proper facilities at PKLI ‘criminal negligence’


LAHORE   -  Expressing his annoyance over the prolonged load-shedding duration the holy month of Ramazan, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday directed the authorities to take steps to reduce power outages on emergency basis till next month.

The prime minister held the previous government responsible for the present energy crisis and alleged that the former regime neither purchased fuel nor repaired the power units leading to reduction in production of electricity.

“Imran Khan’s government had closed the power units which were set up by our government to generate low-cost electricity. Instead, the previous government had utilised those low power generation units which supplied expensive power; and due to this injustice, the nation had to pay the heavy price in the shape of Rs100 billion every month”, he maintained.

With the destruction of the energy sector, he said, a conspiracy was hatched to deliver a fatal blow to the country’s economy. The prime minister said the previous government did not purchase LNG which cost Rs6 billion in the beginning, but later got the same amount of LNG at Rs20 billion. “In this way, the nation had to pay more than Rs500 billion this year due to such injustice done by Imran Khan’s government”, he added.

Expressing his resolve to provide relief to the public, he said that neither he would sit idle nor let anyone rest till the resolution of the issue. He said that all possible efforts should be made to save the citizens from the discomfort created by the criminal negligence of the former government and directed the authorities concerned to make temporary arrangements till the provision of oil and gas. He said Nawaz Sharif’s government had generated the surplus power, but Imran’s government failed to add even a single unit.

‘Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Sunday expressed his concern over closure of 14 treatment units at Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) and sought explanation from the hospital staff over the absence of health facilities there.

The prime minister got angry when the doctors failed to give him a satisfactory answer over the utilisation of Rs 90 donation given to the hospital in March 2018. “Did you purchase equipment from this money or not, ‘’ he asked, and got annoyed when he did not get any answer from the administration.

The prime minister said Rs20 billion was spent on the hospital and the National Accountability Bureau sent him to jail two times due to this project but could not prove corruption of even twenty rupees.

He said an attempt was made to destroy the hospital which was the project of Pakistan Muslim League(N).

The prime minister directed the hospital administration and Chief Secretary Punjab to make the hospital fully functional in the next 48 hours and brief him on the progress.

Talking to the media, he said during his visit to the PKLI, he came to know that 14 of the 20 units of the hospital were non-functional.

He said the hospital which was built for the free medical treatment of poor people from all over Pakistan could give free treatment to only 17 percent of patients last month.

He directed Punjab chief secretary to give him a detailed briefing about non-availability of health facilities at the hospital. Why were the patients being charged? he asked.

“The hospital was made for the poor people, mothers, children, women and elders.”, he averred.

He said that while building the hospital in 2015, he had announced about the free treatment to all citizens but unfortunately free treatment was given only till 2018 and then the hospital remained closed for two years.

‘Financial assistance for farmers’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Sunday ordered financial assistance for farmers affected by the damage to their standing crops in Sialkot due to a fire incident. He directed the Punjab government to immediately give assistance cheques to the farmers whose 90,000 kilogrammes worth of wheat crop was burnt.

The incident of burning of crops occurred on April 23 at Bela Pull Bajwan in Bijot sector. Wheat crop on 77 acres area was burnt affecting 15 farmers.

According to investigation, the fire was ignited due to a fault in a harvesting machine. The fire further expanded when it engulfed a reserve of 80 liters diesel and the fire brigade could not timely reach due to the 32 kilometers distance.

However, the fire brigade did manage to control the fire and stop further damage to the standing crops.

PM visits Kot Lakhpat jail

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday visited Kot Lakhpat jail and announced a remission in jail sentences of the prisoners across the country by two months on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr.

The prime minister also directed for the constitution of a committee headed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah that would formulate a comprehensive strategy for the provision of basic facilities to the jail inmates, besides making improvements in the overall system.

Relevant officials from the four provinces would be included in the committee.

On the occasion, the prime minister observed that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure that a prisoner, after his release from jail, should become an efficient citizen of society.

He also specially directed the authorities of Kot Lakhpat jail to utilize all the available resources in an effective manner to meet the basic requirements of jail inmates.

In this regard, the prime minister directed for further improvement in the dining and health facilities of prisoners.

He also asked for effective use of skill development resources, so that prisoners could spend time in jail in a positive manner and adequately gear up for playing an effective role in society after completion of their jail terms.

Talking to PTV, the prime minister said that he had set up a committee headed by the interior minister to introduce much needed jail reforms. Sharing his personal experiences, he said that jails lacked basic facilities for prisoners including washrooms, toilets, laundry and health facilities.

The prime minister mentioned different issues faced by the prisoners and said there were a number of prisoners who had completed their jail terms but could not be released as they had no financial resources to pay their fines.

Similarly, others had relatives living in far flung areas and they could not visit jail regularly to meet them. Moreover, there were prisoners who did not afford to hire lawyers, he added.

The prime minister, on the occasion, also announced upgradation of perks of staffers of the jails at par with the police force. He expressed the hope that jail reforms would be brought in accordance with the rules and laws. He also lauded Aleem Khan for donating a hospital for the treatment of jail inmates.

Also, prime minister visited Ramadan Bazaar set upon in Johar Town and issued direction for ensuring the provision of edible items at low prices.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif late Sunday tweeted, “During my visit to PKLI today, found out that out of 20 unites, only 14 are functional. It was supposed to provide free medical treatment to all the poor & only 17% could get that. The work remained suspended on PKLI for two years. Criminal negligence!”

“PKLI was set up to provide kidney/liver transplant facility in Pakistan, for which patients usually travel abroad for expensive treatment. During my visit today, it pained me to see the hospital running ordinarily, far below it’s capacity & intended purpose for deserving people.