BAHAWALPUR/LAHORE (Sarfraz Ali) – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated first-ever solar generation project at the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park (QASP) in Bahawalpur on Tuesday.

The QASP has been designed to generate a total of 1,000MW of electricity. Its first unit reportedly went into test run last month and had achieved successful results by generating 100 megawatt electricity.

The first unit was completed with a cost of 15 billion rupees in a short period of eleven months. The electricity generated by the project will be added to the national grid through grid stations and power supply transmission lines.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said several mega projects in the power sector have been launched which will help overcome the power shortage in Pakistan by 2017-2018.

Terming the 46 billion dollars of Chinese investment in Pakistan as unprecedented, he said all projects with the Chinese cooperation will be completed on time. Pakistan and China will establish a special committee in order to ensure these projects are completed on record time, he added.

The premier also announced Rs20 million as reward for the workers at Quaid-e-Azam solar park.

He said this the first time in Pakistan that a democratic government is delivering, adding his government also wants to improve relations with Afghanistan, and eliminate terrorism from the entire region.

PM Nawaz further said that the temporarily displaced persons have started returning to their homes in Waziristan after terrorism was rooted out in that area. He added that this is a great achievement and the country’s armed forces deserve appreciation.

Speaking about Karachi, PM Nawaz said that the situation in city has improved and extortion and kidnapping for ransom have been significantly reduced. He added that Karachi will once again be the city of lights.

Nawaz Sharif further reaffirmed his commitment to serve the masses by timely completion of similar power-generation projects in different parts of the country.

“Only a few weeks ago, nobody was believing in our commitment and dedication towards the development of the country. But, now, the whole world is acknowledging our progress in almost every sector,” the premier maintained.

Speaking at the ceremony prior to his elder brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that once completed, the QASP will be the biggest solar power project in the world.

He also revealed that China provided a Rs2 billion concession on the project. He further added the project will begin generating another 350MW of electricity by the end of this year.

He also urged the prime minister and all of his party workers to work efficiently to curb the menaces in the country.

Lauding the cooperation of Chinese companies, the chief minister assured the project would be maintained in a transparent manner.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Acting Governor Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong were also present on the occasion besides a number of Federal and provincial ministers.