In today’s day and age when electricity has become indispensable for normal human activity, people in Pakistan are still starving for electricity. To address the issue, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on Wednesday inaugurated Chashma 3 nuclear power plant, which marks another milestone in Pak-China joint collaborations.
The Chashma 3 plant has been built with Chinese assistance in Mianwali district, where two similar power plants are already in operation and another is almost completed. The news comes as a sliver of hope for long suffering citizens of Pakistan.
“Today we have crossed an important milestone in the journey to free the nation from scheduled power cuts. I am thankful to Allah and congratulate the entire nation,” Nawaz told an inaugural ceremony attended by Pakistani and Chinese officials.
Interestingly, the current regime promised number of timelines, ranging from 6 months to 3 years, to end load-shedding, whereas the latest promise is to end load-shedding by 2018-the election year. Also, speculations indicates that the main aim of the government behind the construction of nuclear power plants in the country is to boost Sharif’s re-election bid in next polls due in early 2018.
The current electricity output of Pakistan stands at 16,000 MegaWatts (MW), including power production. The government plans to boost the power production by 60% through Chinese-funded coal and hydro-electricity projects.
It is pertinent to note that China is the only country helping Pakistan in the construction of nuclear power plants since Western countries have imposed a ban on the supply of these facilities citing Islamabad’s nuclear weapons program. As part of multibillion dollar cooperation agreement, Beijing is also going to help Pakistan to construct a network of roads, railway tracks and power project to maintain strong ties between the two traditionally close allies.
Many experts believe that Chashma 2 and 3 power plants are the most efficient power plants in the country as it will provide approximately 600 MegaWatts (MW) of electricity to the national grid. Also, the government refused to reveal the cost associated with construction of nuclear power plants or the Chinese contribution, saying only that Beijing offered technical supports and Chinese engineers have worked on the projects.
Noting that there has been a significant reduction in load-shedding in the past three years, Sharif pledged that this move will help in ending the menace of load shedding by 2018. He added that the timely completion of Karachi nuclear power projects, K-II and K-III, will strengthen the bilateral relations between China and Pakistan.