Tag Archives: Nawaz

Nawaz approves acquisition of five Boeing 777 aircrafts for PIA



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) approval to acquire five Boeing 777 aircrafts, as he insisted on a transparent privatisation process for the ailing state enterprise.

Chairing the meeting held at prime minister’s house in Islamabad, Nawaz also gave go ahead to devise strategy to settle PIA legacy loans and empower Board of Directors to run the airline on professional basis with special emphasis towards  improvement of service standards.

The meeting was also attended by finance minister Ishaq Dar, Special Assistant to prime minister Shujat Azeem, Secretary Aviation Muhammad Ali Gerdazi, DG Civil Aviation Air Marshal (Rtd.) Muhammad Yousaf and Managing Director PIA Muhammad Junaid Yousaf.

“PIA was our national pride and its efficiency and high quality service were its hallmark. It also set examples for other airlines. It is cause for national embarrassment as its performance has deteriorated at breath-taking pace over the past decade. It is now neither efficient nor profitable. It incurred losses around Rs 183 billion. The poor service delivery and over-employment in PIAC have been grave problems. Perhaps some efforts were made to turn it around in the past, but there has been no improvement in its efficiency or profitability. Pilferage also continues unabated in PIAC,” said prime minister.

The premier further said that the government will not interfere in the privatisation of PIA and would encourage the privatisation to be carried out through competitive and transparent process without preemptive downsising.

Showing confidence on PIA’s Board of Directors, the premier said the government would extend its in full cooperation in streamlining PIA.

Nawaz was informed that the national flag carrier is presently in the process of acquiring 11 A320 aircraft on lease with deliveries starting from June 2014. With Additional 05 Boeing 777 aircraft, PIA will be in a better position to offer enhanced services to its passengers, increase revenue, destinations, flight punctuality and reduced maintenance costs

Nawaz was also briefed about the steps that have been taken to overhaul the PIA to restore its glory. The meeting was informed that out of total 34 aircrafts, 24 are operational.

Further, SOPs adopted to reduce operational costs were dilated upon. Among these, the carrier’s fuel management SOPs were revised to optimise utilisation, helping it save Rs500 million per annum. A further Rs902 million were saved by closing loss making routes.

The meeting was also informed that 330 employees holding fake degrees were fired, while a task force has been constituted to identify more fake degree holders.

Nawaz directed the PIA board members to hire experienced professionals required to run the airline on commercial basis ensuring profitability and the revival of the past glory of the national flag carrier.

It was also decided in the meeting that PIA Board members will discuss airline matters relating to restructuring and revitalisation of PIA on a regular basis with prime minister.


Delay in IP pipeline: PM Nawaz to try and win concessions in Tehran talks



ISLAMABAD: 

After failing to get Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline exempted from US sanctions, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is set to ask Tehran during an upcoming visit to waive penalty following delay in work and revise the agreed deal.

In case of disagreement, the two countries may land in the international court of arbitration to settle the matter, sources say.

In addition to this, Pakistan and Iran will sign a 3,000-megawatt power supply deal during the premier’s trip slated for May 11-12.

Pakistan is already importing 73MW from Iran to meet the needs of Gwadar, but has not been able to clear outstanding payments, a process impeded by US sanctions against Iran for its alleged nuclear programme, which Tehran vehemently denies, that blocks transactions through banks.

The US has already refused to exempt the IP pipeline from sanctions, triggering uncertainty about the future of the project.

Though Tehran has signed a preliminary nuclear deal with the US and other western powers, Washington insists that it has not changed its stance on the IP pipeline.

Pakistani authorities had taken up the project with US officials in a meeting on the sidelines of the bilateral strategic dialogue in Washington in November 2013. However, the US did not give assurances that the project would not invite any sanctions.

The US has been pushing Pakistan to shelve the IP project and opt for Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) 1,000MW power import project to meet its energy needs. It has also offered assistance in liquefied natural gas (LNG) import, but is not willing to commit its own LNG supplies.

A month later, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi visited Iran on December 9 and told officials there that Pakistan could not begin work on the IP pipeline until US sanctions were lifted.

Be soft

According to officials, the prime minister will again try to convince the top leadership of Iran’s new government that US restrictions are a major stumbling block in the way of the pipeline. Therefore, Tehran should be soft and waive penalty as well as extend the project completion deadline from the current December 2014.

Officials point out that Pakistan would have to face a penalty of million per day if it dithers and fails to put the required project infrastructure in place on time. They suggest that the dispute may also take the two sides to the international court of arbitration if the penalty is not waived.

Officials argue that the standoff between the US and Iran has stalled the project and Pakistan could not be blamed for the delay, which is very much likely in such circumstances.

Tehran would also be informed that Islamabad had also tried to secure financing for building its part of the pipeline, but even China, a close friend of Islamabad, backed out in the face of the sanctions threat.

Even the new government of Iran also withdrew a 0-million financing offer given by the previous government, which led to termination of the contract awarded to Iran’s Tadbir Energy for pipeline construction.

According to a report prepared by the petroleum ministry, if furnace oil is replaced with imported gas, it will result in annual savings of .4 billion.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2014.

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Whirlwind tour: Nawaz reviews law and order situation in Karachi



KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday chaired a meeting to review the law and order situation in Karachi and Sindh during his brief visit to the city.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif, DG Rangers and senior police and government officials attended the meeting.

Express News reported that sources had confirmed that the prime minister expressed concerns over the handling of the law and order situation in the city, and instructed the Sindh government to bring the situation under control.

Speaking with the media later, the Prime Minster said that the targeted operation against criminals in Karachi had yielded positive results, Radio Pakistan reported.


Pak-China friendship is ‘sweeter than the sweetest honey’: Nawaz



GUDDU: Pakistan-China friendship “is sweeter than the sweetest honey in this world,” stated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the inauguration ceremony of two gas turbines of 243 megawatts (MW) each in Guddu, Sindh.

The new turbines were installed within the grounds of the existing Guddu power plant complex.

These units are part of the 737MW Combined Cycle Power Project which was planned by the government in 2012. The project also includes one steam turbine of 261MW.

During the ceremony, Nawaz thanked the Chinese firm, Harbin Electric Company, which was awarded the power project.

Taking pride in the close friendship between the two countries, the premier further stated that their relationship is “deeper than the deepest sea in the world, and is higher than the highest peak in this world.”

He also added that two units of the project were completed before the deadline, thereby saving the country Rs58 billion. The new plant will increase the electricity production in Guddu from 1655MW to 2402MW.

Speaking about the various power projects that will be installed in the country, Nawaz said that as a result of these projects 21000MW will be added to the electricity system.


Army officers need to be embodiment of courage, composure, compassion: Nawaz



KAKUL: “Army officers need to be embodiment of courage, composure and compassion,” stated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing the 129th Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) long course passing-out parade  in Kakul on Saturday.

Nawaz, who was the chief guest at the ceremony held at Kakul Military Academy, stated that the PMA is rightfully considered “a veritable cradle of leadership.”

Nawaz also praised Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif during his address stating that officers like him “are only known for their professionalism, patriotism, dedication and commitment to their motherland.”

Providing resources

The premier said that the state is providing all possible resources needed for making the country’s defence impregnable.

“Without a strong economy, rule of law and containment of terrorism, a credible defence system cannot be sustained,” Nawaz stated.

Technological advancements

While addressing the ceremony, Nawaz stressed the importance of technology in today’s world.

“Technological innovations are the order of the day,” he stated, adding that “they are changing our very lifestyle and their impact is felt in all walks of our national life.”

“Modern technology has also transformed the nature of warfare and tilted the balance squarely in favour of the technologically-advanced nations,” stated the prime minister further emphasising its importance.


Economic ties: Premier Nawaz to visit UK this month



ISLAMABAD: 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit the United Kingdom later this month for a summit-level meeting with a focus on improvement in bilateral trade, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said late on Tuesday.

Aziz, who is the country’s de facto foreign minister,
was speaking as chief guest at the birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth-II at the British High Commission on Tuesday evening.

“The Pakistan-UK relationship is improving at a rapid pace,” he said. “We have had high-level visits in the recent past and the prime minister will visit UK later this month for a summit-level meeting.”

Aziz said the meeting will focus on trade and investment cooperation. He said the bilateral trade between UK and Pakistan has already risen to £2.3 billion from £1.6 billion since the new Pakistani government took charge.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2014.


Diamer-Bhasha: Nawaz to personally monitor project, visit site soon



ISLAMABAD: With energy crisis expected to exacerbate in the summer months, prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that he will personally monitor progress of the 4,500 megawatt Diamer-Bhasah dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, directing that security for foreign consultants be ensured.

During a briefing on the project at the PM house on Thursday, Nawaz noted that the project will not only help augment energy requirements of the country but will also prove to be a source of development for Gilgit-Baltistan. He added that he will be monitoring progress of the project personally and will visit the site soon.

To this effect, Nawaz directed that 1 percent of the project’s .87 billion cost would be allocated specifically for environmental conservation so that local vegetation and wildlife resources are not affected and first preference for un-skilled jobs should be given to locals of the project area.

Noting the security situation in the region, the prime minister further directed that foreign consultants working on the project should be given all possible security, costs for which should be adjusted in the project cost.

Nawaz was briefed that a separate unit of Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts was being raised specifically to provide security to the project and personnel involved and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had already been signed with interior ministry.

142 km alternate route to be built on KKH

The project’s construction is expected to affect 100 kilometers of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) will be affected.

To mitigate the effects of this closure, the permier was told that an alternate route stretching for 142km will be built on KKH.

Nawaz directed that Wapda chairman should visit the project site immediately and report the updated status regarding progress of work.

The project is expected to provide a gross storage of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) and live storage of 6.4 MAF and the total cost of the project is .87 billion with a completion time of nine years. The project will have an installed capacity of 4,500MW, generated by 12 units of 375MW each. They are expected to generate revenue of .216 billion per annum, paying back its cost in eight years and extend the life of Tarbela reservoir by 35 years.

Nawaz was told that land acquisition for the project is in process. To accommodate the displaced people, three model villages, one each at Thak Das, Harpan Das and Kino Das with all basic amenities shall be developed. These model villages will resettle 4,228 affected households.


Nawaz likely to visit Iran next month



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is like to visit Iran next month, Radio Pakistan reported.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said the Premier will visit Iran next month for which dates are being worked out.

Talking to media in Islamabad, the foreign secretary said Pakistan gives importance to its relations with Tehran and the upcoming visit of PM will boost the bilateral relations.

He further said that Pakistan wishes to have healthy with new regimes in New Delhi and Kabul.

Aizaz claimed that Pakistan’s foreign policy is on the right track.


One-on-one: Nawaz and Zardari meet at PM House in Islamabad



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari met on Wednesday at the PM House in Islamabad, Express News reported.

This is the second meeting between the two since the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) took over the reins of government from Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) last year. The first meeting took place in January this year when the two leaders jointly performed the ground-breaking of the $ 1.6billion Thar coal power project.

Zardari arrived at the PM house via helicopter and was welcomed by Nawaz at the door before they proceeded with the meeting.

During today’s meeting, the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, former president Pervez Musharraf’s trial, Karachi’s law and order situation, peace negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as matters related to political development and national security were discussed.

Before the one-on-one meeting, delegation level talks were also held. Zardari was accompanied by Senator Raza Rabbani, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and PPP leader Murad Ali Shah while Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid accompanied Nawaz.

A senior PPP leader had earlier told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity that the meeting between the two political heavyweights has symbolic value in the present circumstances.

“The meeting will give a message that the country’s political forces are united,” he had added.


Nawaz to visit UK in April: Aziz



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to visit United Kingdom for a summit-level meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron later in April, Radio Pakistan reported on Tuesday.

This was stated by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz while speaking at a reception hosted by British High Commissioner Philip Barton in Islamabad on Tuesday to mark the 88th birthday of Queen Elizabeth-II. Aziz’s comments put to end weeks of speculation surrounding Nawaz’s impending visit to the British isles.

Aziz added that the Prime Minister is expected to hold discussion with his British counterpart on ways and means to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.