Lahore, May 28: Pakistan's Prime Minister-designate Nawaz Sharif today said it was "sad" that a country with nuclear arsenal has been hit with severe power shortage and drew parallel with India which he said had moved ahead.
"It is sad that a nuclear power is without power for up to 20 hours (a day). Are other nuclear powers in the same state as Pakistan? We should look into the reasons why the country doesn't even have electricity," Sharif said while addressing a function here to commemorate "Youm-e-Takbeer", which marks the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan in 1998.
Sharif, set to become premier for an unprecedented third term, said he could not give a timeframe for ending power outages that have hit life across the country and crippled industries.
He pledged the incoming PML-N government would make efforts to overcome the problem as soon as possible.
"We will work night and day to control the energy crisis but you will have to show patience and resilience," he said
The focus of Sharif's speech was the energy crisis, which has resulted in outages of up to 18 hours in some areas and triggered violent protests in parts of the country.
"I will take oath on June 5 but people should not expect the energy crisis to be resolved by June 6," he said.
Sharif cautioned people that it could take years to overcome the crisis, saying new coal-based plants would need up to three-and-half years to begin producing power while bagasse-based plants set up in sugar mills would require up to 18 months to begin operations.
"Do not expect the power problem to be resolved in days (though) the PML-N will try to resolve it as soon as possible," he said.
Comparing Pakistan to India, he said, "India is also a nuclear power. We were at the same level at that time (in 1998), and in some fields, Pakistan was even ahead. Our currency was stronger.
"We should analyse why we are behind and there is no electricity for industries and homes...Why normal life has been affected and operation theatres in hospitals are closed."
He further said the PML-N had started the march and things would be set right soon.