MUZAFFARABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday lashed out at the opposition, blaming them for the power shortfall in Pakistan.

“Don’t stall these development projects,” said the prime minister at the site of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project where he attend a ceremony in connection with breakthrough of right head-race tunnel of the project.

He criticised the opposition for “conspiring to push the country back towards darkness.”

“You’re well aware of who is responsible for this shortfall. They come on TV and spew hatred every day, but to sit in Islamabad and level allegations and speak lies is frustrating people now,” the PM said.

Nawaz Sharif, who has been announcing development projects in various parts of the country as elections draw nearer, also delivered an unusual warning to his opponents. “Don’t keep eyes your eyes closed like a pigeon. If you keep this up, the lion is going to eat this pigeon in the upcoming elections.”

About 92% construction work has been completed on the project, involving extensive tunnels excavation work in one of the hardest terrains.

The first unit of Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Project will start electricity generation by the end of February next year, the second unit in mid March, whereas the third and the fourth unit will be completed in April next year.

The premier also claimed at the occasion that Pakistan would soon add 10,000 megawatts to the grid. He did not provide a timeline for this, however.

“In the coming five to six years we will add so much power to the grid that it will equal the energy produced in the last 70 years,” he claimed.

The strategically important 969 MW project will mark a major milestone towards its completion, as excavation of about 68-kilometer long tunnels system of the project will stand completed, when the second Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) deployed on the project will break through the Right Headrace Tunnel.

With this significant development, the water way system of the project will enter the final phase which is scheduled to be completed in seven months. Thereafter, the tunnels will be ready to divert water from Dam site to Power House.