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    Pakistan's PTV show on new nuclear power plant, Kashmir issue

    February 3, 2023 - BBC International Reports (South Asia)


      The following is a summary of the talk show "Riyasat" (the state), hosted by anchor Shahzad Raza on state-owned PTV News in Urdu at 15:00 GMT on 2 February. The programme provides analysis and views of experts and politicians on important news of the day.

      Anchor Salma Kausar hosted the show due to the absence of the regular host Shahzad Raza.

      Kausar opened the show, saying that the federal government had taken an important step today (2 February) to resolve the energy crisis as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif inaugurated the K-3 nuclear power plant in Karachi, which would produce 1,100 megawatts of electricity. She mentioned that this plant would help save a lot of money that had to be spent on the import of fuel for generating electricity. Kashmir issue

      Kausar mentioned that 5 February, the day of solidarity with Kashmiris, was around the corner and added that the "Indian oppression" in Kashmir had increased further. She spoke with Ghazala Habib, Chairperson of Friends of Kashmir USA, and asked her about the expectations of the Kashmiri people from the government of Pakistan.

      Habib said, "First of all, I would thank Pakistan, on behalf of all Kashmiris as the Kashmir issue remained alive in the world because of Pakistan." She claimed that India had been continuing its oppression and had deployed "over one million military personnel in Kashmir" and had "turned the entire Kashmir valley into a jail". She added that "draconian laws" were imposed in Kashmir and after the revocation of Article 370 and 35-A [articles that granted special status to former state of Jammu and Kashmir] by the (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi government, India had been trying to "change the demography of Kashmir". After which, she added Hindus would make the majority of the population in Indian-administered Kashmir. Habib emphasised that Pakistan needed to take some "practical measures" for highlighting the Kashmir issue and "swift, strong and effective lobbying" was needed.

      Journalist Tariq Chaudhry commented that Indian-administered Kashmir was "probably the only region where people were under a communication embargo" and claimed that "Hindus from mainland India were being settled in Kashmir". He added that a Kashmiri domicile was being issued within 12 days to persons who had "no racial, ethnic or cultural links with Kashmir" and "around 4.5 million such domiciles had been issued so far". He remarked that Kashmir was the "unfinished agenda of the partition" and it had been a "main pillar of Pakistan's foreign policy that the Kashmiri people should be given the right to self-determination according to the international laws". Inauguration of nuclear power plant

      Kausar asked Chaudhry to speak about the significance of the inauguration of the K-3 nuclear power plant. Chaudhry said "low cost and ample energy was necessary for industrial progress of the country" and Pakistan needed to explore alternate sources of energy, including solar and wind. He mentioned that there were flaws in the electricity distribution system, which should be removed and steps were also needed to stop electricity theft.

      Mirza Ishtiaq Baig, an industrialist and economic expert, said the prime minister today inaugurated K-3 nuclear power plant and mentioned that "K-2 and K-3 plants were built with the cooperation of China" and appreciated China for supporting Pakistan. He mentioned that with additional nuclear energy, the issue of power shutdowns would be resolved. He added that "Pakistan's exports were being hampered because the cost of electricity was very high and the government was unable to provide subsidies to export industries because of the conditions of the IMF (International Monetary Fund)".

      Baig criticised the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that it did not initiate any power projects. He said Prime Minister Sharif's remarked that "with 2,200 megawatt nuclear energy, Pakistan would be getting 10% of its electricity from nuclear resources". He emphasised that Pakistan should focus on wind and solar energy as well. Peshawar attack

      Kausar said the Inspector General (IG) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police today addressed a very important press conference about the recent terrorist attack on a mosque in Peshawar (provincial capital of KP) and admitted that there had been a "security lapse". She mentioned that the KP government had been provided 417bn rupees ($1.53bn) for counterterrorism actions and raised the question that where were those funds spent by the PTI government, which remained in office [in KP] for around 10 years.

      Kausar contacted Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, former Governor of KP and a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) politician, for his comments. Jhagra said the details of the attack were "very perturbing" and "we should apologise to the nation". He said, "The prime minister has been taking measures for the welfare and the security of the people on a daily basis." Mentioning that the terrorists were equipped with sophisticated weapons, he remarked that this meant "international powers were involved in this and they wanted to weaken Pakistan".

      Chaudhry said the PTI formed its government in 2013 and had been claiming that it would modernise the police but "after 10 years, when the suicide attack happened, it came out that the province did not even have a forensic lab" and the police was not equipped with any latest weapons.

      Source: PTV News, Islamabad, in Urdu 1500 GMT 2 Feb 23


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