Adviser to the Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Qamar Zaman Kaira here on Wednesday inaugurated Gulpur Hydropower Project, capability of generating an average annual energy of 102 megawatt (MW).
Addressing at inaugural ceremony, the adviser remarked the critical step was the announcement of first ever Power Policy of the country which opened the doors of huge private investment in the sector.
He said Pakistan offered immense opportunities of investment in developing the infrastructure including the Power Sector.
"When I see this beautiful hydropower project, it reminds me one of the remarkable initiative taken by first ever lady Prime Minister of any Muslim country Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in shape of Independent Power Plants to meet the growing energy needs of that time," he added.
"Hydropower is a lifeline for Pakistan as it not only offers the cheap and clean energy but also contribute immensely to the growth of economy through creation of job opportunities and use of local materials," he maintained.
He expressed his gratitude to Koria South East Power Company (KOEN) to deliver such a beautiful project for the people of Kashmir and hoped that it would keep on investing in Pakistan.
The minister said Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and GB had huge potential in mineral tourism and hydel power, adding that his Ministry would go an extra mile and extend all possible support and cooperation to reduce difficulty for all the investors.
Commenting on the increasing number of catastrophic, climate-related events across the world, he said Pakistan despite less contribution towards global emission was paying a heavy price for mistakes committed by others countries.
Kaira pointed to the way Pakistan has been disproportionately impacted from global warming, giving the example of recent devastating floods which affected around 33 million people, damaging crops and collapsing the entire infrastructure especially in Sindh and Balochistan.
He said developed countries had done most to cause climate change and should do more to help underdeveloped countries, that were being hit hardest.
"We have contributed 0.8 percent of the carbon footprint, but now we are one of the ten most climate stressed countries on earth," he added.
He cited the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres call for urging the developed countries to come forward and help Pakistan in this catastrophe.
He said the coalition government was making all out efforts to provide relief the flood affected people.
National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Chairman Tauseef H. Farooqi noted that the project was started with an initiative 'power with prosperity' to generate cheap electricity with creation of thousands of jobs for the local community.
The hydropower projects in AJK had the potential to change the fate of local community, he added.
The regulator, he said had put entire efforts on green energy including Hydropower, solar and wind to reduce green house gases.
CEO Mirapower Han Seungnam gave a detailed presentation over the project.
Gulpur Hydropower Plant is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation project located on Poonch River, a major tributary of Jhelum River near Gulpur in Kotli District Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The project started back in 2015 was first ever in the history of the country which is developed on declared National Park having endangered and critically endangered species.
The lenders approved the project financing after accepting of Mira Power strategy to ensure net gain in the population of endangered and critically endangered species including Mahaseer Fish.
To achieve the net gain, Mira Power (a subsidiary company of KOEN devised and successfully implementing a comprehensive Biodiversity Action Plan to the satisfaction of lenders and Wildlife and Fisheries Department of Government of AJK.
More than 50 per cent of the jobs at site are filled with local community.