PM announces Rs2.5bn development package for Lodhran, PTI cries foul

Updated Nov 06 2015


PTI cries foul as PM announces Rs2.5bn development package for Lodhran─DawnNews screengrab
PTI cries foul as PM announces Rs2.5bn development package for Lodhran─DawnNews screengrab

LODHRAN: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Punjab's Lodhran district on Friday to distribute cheques among farmers as a part of Kissan package and also announced a Rs2.5 billion development package for the district.

The PM's visit to the district comes as the Election Commission of Pakistan announces the schedule for by-polls in Lodhran's NA-154 constituency.

Speaking after the cheque distribution ceremony, the premier said that his government acknowledges the hardships a farmer goes through to produce food and exportable crops for the country and for that reason had announced the historic Rs341bn relief package for the community.

"But you all know who tried to stop government from speedy implementation of this historic package and still claims to represent the poor people of country," the PM told farmers.

The PM also announced a special Rs2.5billion development package for Lodhran and said that the way people of the area have expressed their love for PML-N by voting for the party again and again, the party too will pay back in the same way.

He said that the scheme for affordable and cost effective 'solar tube well' has been approved.

Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed accompanied him during the visit.

The Kisan package, announced in September, is aimed at providing cash support of Rs5,000 with immediate effect to the growers of cotton and rice as a direct relief. The amount will be disbursed among the farmers owning a maximum of 12.5 acres of land.

Interest-free loans for farmers with 12 acres or less to install solar tubewells or convert the existing ones into solar. Mark-up on the loans will be paid by the federal government.

The government pledges to provide relaxation in turnover tax to rice millers as compensation during 2015-16 to minimise their losses. Similarly, there would be a tax holiday on income tax for the cold chain industry trading in agricultural products, fruits, vegetables and fish.

Related: PM unveils Rs341bn package for farmers

Motorway for Sialkot

The PM flew straight to Sialkot from Lodhran and also distributed cheques among the farmers. He also announced to build a motorway in the city.

"We have always served you and this time we are giving you a gift in the form of motorway, this road will be built between Hasan Abdal, Havelian and Mansehra till China border," announced Nawaz.

Nawaz said that Sialkot contributes about $2bn to the national exchequer and its time to pay the city back.

The PM said that the several energy products are under construction and the government will bring thousands of megawatt electricity into the system by 2017.

"We are working towards reducing the cost of energy so that the farmers and industrialists can reap maximum benefits from their produce," claimed Nawaz.

In an apparent jab at rival PTI, he said that it is we, who are making a 'Naya Pakistan'.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif too addressed the crowd and said that PML-N will continue its hardwork to bring back country on the path of development.

Also Read: Resolving energy crisis by 2018 top priority, says Nawaz

PTI leader writes to CEC against PM's Lodhran visit

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Khan Tareen wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner to stop Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from visiting Lodhran ahead of NA-154 by-elections.

Copy of Jahangir Khan Tareen's letter to CEC
Copy of Jahangir Khan Tareen's letter to CEC

Tareen, in the letter maintained that PM's visit is a violation of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) code of conduct as the PM will announce a Rs 10 billion special development package for the district.

The PTI leader urged the CEC to take immediate notice of this attempt of 'pre-poll rigging'.

"You will agree that this is a blatant case of pre-poll rigging. The development package is meant only and only to influence the by-election in favour of the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz candidate," the letter states.

The PTI leader also expressed astonishment over ECP's delay in announcing the schedule for by-polls days after the SC verdict calling for re-polling in the constituency.

Related: PTI’s poor show in Tareen’s constituency

An election tribunal in August had annulled the results of 2013 general election in NA-154, disqualifying PML-N's Siddique Baloch for possessing fake academic credentials.

The PML-N lawmaker who contested the 2013 poll as an independent candidate and later joined the PML-N, was deseated when the tribunal set aside his election on a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's central organiser Jahangir Khan Tareen.

Siddique Khan Baloch had approached the Supreme Court against the decision of the election tribunal that declared his election on the constituency void and him 'ineligible' to contest elections due to his fake educational degree.

SC in its final verdict on October 28 had ordered re-polling in NA-154 constituency (Lodhran) while suspending the tribunal verdict of declaring Pakistan Baloch 'ineligible' to contest elections.