Prime Minister Imran Khan has set his eyes on the next election win on back of the surprising increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, saying that the country will go further up in economic terms next time the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government is elected.
“I have good news to share with you that Pakistan is coming out of economic hardships as the GDP growth rate is estimated at around 4% for the current fiscal year (2020-21) and has been made public,” Premier Imran said while speaking at the Quaid Residency in Ziarat, Balochistan.
The prime minister expressed his grief over the martyrdom of the Frontier Corps personnel in the terrorist attacks in Quetta and Turbat on Monday, and prayed for peace of the departed souls as well as for fortitude of their bereaved family members.
PM Imran regretted that the opposition parties, which had been claiming about the government’s failure for the last two-and-a-half years, were now disputing the GDP growth figure.
“In fact, the opposition parties want the incumbent government to fail in economic terms, as they fear that if the government succeeds, their politicking would end,” he remarked.
“Since the [PTI] government came to power [in August 2018], the opposition parties are giving deadlines for the end of the government in three months or by December 31. But I am worried about the opposition that what will they do now?”
The prime minister said despite the economic restraints due to the debt burden it inherited and the fact that there was a coalition government in Balochistan, the federal government was spending much in the province because it owed its people as they were neglected in the past.
“Had the previous governments spent more in Balochistan, the situation would have been better,” he said.
Taking a jibe at the previous rulers of the country without taking names, Imran said they had two choices – either to make money for themselves or to spend on the nation. “If I think about the palaces in London … How I will think about the nation!” he remarked.
The prime minister referred to the contribution of Mahathir Mohamad and Lee Kuan Yew - leaders of Malaysia and Singapore, respectively, in the development of their countries, saying that they did not make money or build palaces in London but served their countries and nations.
He said Ziarat could be turned into a tourism hub for enhancing the income of local populace and keep poverty in check.
The prime minister said Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which had faced terrorism and even lost the lives of 500 policemen, achieved enhanced development during the 2013-18 PTI government.
He referred to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, which acknowledged reduction in poverty, reduction of gap in the rich and the poor, and enhanced spending in the areas of human development, education, health and tourism.
Imran said with half of the K-P population given health insurance cards previously, now the provincial government had achieved 100% coverage of health insurance, providing the facility of Rs1 million for every family to get free medical treatment from any hospital.
Similarly, he said, the Punjab government would also provide the facility of health insurance across the province by the end of 2021. Due to the health insurance scheme, a network of hospitals would be established in K-P and Punjab by the private sector.
The prime minister also urged the Balochistan government to launch the health insurance scheme in the province for the benefit of the people, especially the poor ones, who faced many economic hardships in case a family member got ill.
About the problem of non-availability of Sui gas in Ziarat, he assured that in order to address the issue, the government, after having done the feasibility of the project, would provide funds for the establishment of an LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) plant in the area during the next fiscal year.
The prime minister said as it was the duty of the federal government to help the government and people of Balochistan in the development of the province, adding that the government would do all to achieve the objective.
Imran said as he believed that Pakistan’s progress depended on inclusive development, the government would continue to support Balochistan and other areas of the country, including the merged tribal areas (erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas) in K-P, southern areas of Punjab, including Mianwali, Bhakkar, DG Khan and interior Sindh, which lagged behind due to past neglect.
He also mentioned the government’s historic Ehsaas Programme, which comprised support for skill development, women empowerment in villages, and loans for the youth, saying all the schemes were meant to support the poor.
Moreover, under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, the prime minister said low income people, including the salaried class, labourers, mechanics etc were being provided houses and apartments on ownership basis through easy instalments equalling the amounts they pay for a rented house.
He said he was pleased to visit the Quaid’s Residency, where the founder of the nation passed his days, adding that he always desired to visit the residency, which was a historic monument.
Separately, Premier Imran visited Quetta and addressed participants of staff course at Command and Staff College, the military’s media wing stated.
On his arrival at the Command and Staff College Quetta, the prime minister was received by army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Commander Quetta Corps Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali.
Addressing the officers, the PM said Pakistan Army has produced unmatched results when pitched against its adversaries and successfully deterred the nefarious designs of Pakistan’s enemies.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Imran said that the country’s defence is impregnable due to professionalism and battle-hardened armed forces of Pakistan.
Imran deliberated at length upon his vision of future of Pakistan where the rule of law, across-the-board accountability and justice are the order of the day.
“Establishment of a prosperous state in line with the Islamic principles and ideology of our great leaders like Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam can be achieved only if we work hard consistently as a nation,” the PM stated.
The PM said, “The government has made all-out efforts for progress in various sectors like agriculture, industry, technology and automation.”
He advised participant officers to pursue their dreams without fear of failure to achieve their objectives.
(With additional input from news desk)