Govt to unveil poverty reduction plan this month

PM Imran launches Sehat Insaf Card in ex-FATA during Peshawar visit


Our Correspondent February 15, 2019
Prime Minister Imran Khan distributes health card to people of tribal districts. PHOTO: APP

PESHAWAR: The Prime Minister said on Friday the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government would present a programme for poverty reduction by the end of this month aimed at enabling the people stand on their own feet and lead a life with dignity.

Speaking at various meetings during his day-long visit to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital, Peshawar, Khan expressed the hope that the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan would facilitate in a big inflow of foreign investment that would help mitigate poverty in the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan here launched the Sehat Insaf Cards (SIC) programme to provide free treatment facilities to patients of bnewly-merged tribal districts. The prime minister distributed SICs among the tribesmen during a special ceremony here at Governor House.

He also chaired a meeting of the provincial apex committee, which reviewed functions of a newly-constituted advisory committee for the tribal districts and the overall law and order situation in the province. The prime minister later chaired a meeting of the provincial cabinet.

Addressing these meetings, Khan emphasised that development of the former Fata was his government's "priority number one". He promised a comprehensive programme for the overall development of the region.

Khan said that the government would present a programme for poverty reduction this month. "Sehat Insaf Card is one aspect of the overall poverty reduction plan," he said. "Poverty will be reduced through Baitul Mal and by providing social safety net to the people," he said.

The prime minister said that the government's poverty reduction Programme would help the people stand on their own feet. "The system will eliminate exploitation of the poor to enable them to lead their lives with dignity."

The prime minister remarked that the people of erstwhile-Fata had suffered too much because of the militancy and the subsequent operations. He added that he was fully aware of the hardships of the people and had the opportunity to work for their development and prosperity.

"The government had a commitment to the people to an expeditious development of their areas and mitigating their sufferings," he said. "The government will work for uplifting the poor segment of the society."

He reminded that when he took over, the country was under the burden of huge internal and external debt. "Now the situation has improved considerably," he said. He hoped that the Saudi crown prince visit would help in mass-scale inflow of foreign investment in Pakistan.

"This visit [by Saudi crown prince] is a historic occasion. It [Saudi investment] will create mass-scale employment, bring stability to the economy and we will be able to pay back the debts," the prime minister said.

He assured that the federal and the provincial governments would implement an overall recovery plan for reconstruction of former Fata districts and the creation of economic activities to provide jobs to the people there.

The people of the former Fata have come out of the hardships," the prime minister declared. "[Now] We will ensure that our steps lead to the durable development of the tribal districts and the removal the sense of deprivation from among the people," Khan said.

He described the launching of the SICs in former Fata, as a big stride towards providing relief to the poor. "Each family would get free healthcare facilities up to Rs720,000 annually," the prime minister told the audience.

He said that the SICs scheme was an extension of similar initiative successfully launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the previous PTI government. "The promises made by the PTI to the people of erstwhile Fata are being fulfilled."

Separately, Khan received a briefing from Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Governor Shah Farman about the extension of public entities to the newly-merged districts and the progress on the plan for the rehabilitation of the tribespeople.

"The provincial government has already prepared a roadmap for the overall development and prosperity of the people of the newly-merged districts," the chief minister said. He added that the increased economic activities would open up these areas to fast-track development.

"The public sector entities and their functions have already been extended to these areas. We will move ahead with the recommendations of the newly-constituted advisory committee for the redressal of the problems, facing the people of these newly-merged districts."

The chief minister demanded of the federal government to provide resources to the province to bring the tribespeople to the national stream. The Prime Minister assured the provision of resources for the development of the tribal areas.

He said that he was happy that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had prepared an overall development programmes for the people of newly-merged districts. "The government will construct schools, hospitals and institution of social services there," he added

Meanwhile, during a special cabinet meeting at the Governor's House, also attended by Governor Shah Farman and the speaker and the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly, the prime minister received briefings from the ministers about the performance of their departments.

Khan made it clear to the ministers that they had no other choice but to perform, while in the government. "Any one, who is unable to perform, cannot get along with us," the prime minister said. He asked ministers to attend their offices and also visit the tribal districts redress people's problems.

"As the team captain, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan must take his whole team along and inform the masses about the change," he said. He warned that he was personally monitoring the performance of the provincial ministers so that there was no dereliction of duty.

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