LAHORE: Unfolding an 11-point agenda to turn the country into ‘Naya Pakistan’, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan told a rally at the iconic Minar-i-Pakistan on Sunday evening that elimination of corruption, self-reliance, health and education are top priorities of his party.
Mr Khan said no nation could survive and progress by investing in infrastructure only, promising that the PTI after coming to power would invest more and more in human development, particularly in the education and health sectors. He vowed that the PTI would introduce a uniform education system and ensure latest healthcare facilities for all.
The large participation of people from Lahore and other parts of the country in the PTI’s power show matched the party’s momentous Oct 30, 2011, rally. The gathering of families and young women, besides party workers and supporters, made the gathering true to Mr Khan’s resolve of “Tsunami Plus”.
Supporting his assertions through different videos, the PTI chief said only those countries became Asian tigers which invested in education. He chided PML-N president and Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif for failing to provide quality education and healthcare facilities to people despite spending Rs350 billion development funds. “With just Rs110 billion development budget of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the PTI government was able to develop better schools, colleges and hospitals,” he claimed.
Assails PPP and PML-N govts for doubling national debt during their tenures
Mr Khan said the two successive governments of Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had multiplied national debt, which surpassed the collective debt of the previous 60 years. He explained that Pakistan’s collective debt stood at Rs6 trillion in 2008, but it reached Rs13 trillion under Asif Ali Zardari’s rule, while the incumbent PML-N government doubled the country’s debt as it stood at Rs27 trillion at present.
Promises to collect Rs8tr from Pakistanis
The PTI chief said he would collect money from Pakistanis, including those residing in other countries, to do away with the ever-increasing debt. “Self-reliance in Naya Pakistan will remain on top of our agenda,” he said. “We will collect Rs8,000 billion from the people of Pakistan through strong institutional reforms every year,” he said, adding that people had trust in him due to his honesty and integrity.
He said after coming to power he would massively cut taxes on electricity, gas and petrol.
Mr Khan said the PTI government would wage a war against corruption through strong institutions. He said he ousted 20 lawmakers from his party on corruption charges.
Chiding the incumbent PML-N government for ‘economic murder’ of farmers, Mr Khan said the PTI would announce “agriculture emergency” and take action against the sugar mills mafia. He said farmers would be given best seeds besides subsidies on electricity.
He also said his government would construct inexpensive five million houses for poor people.
South Punjab, Fata
The PTI chairman said his party would strengthen the federation so that smaller provinces did not feel deprived. He announced that the PTI government would declare “South Punjab” as a province with a population of some 110 million people.
Mr Khan said the people of Fata would also be brought to mainstream by giving them substantial development funds.
For women who do not approach police stations fearing harassment, Mr Khan said, women police stations would be set up. He said primary schools would be established to give quality education to girls. He said women would be given the right of inheritance through strong legislation and implementation.
Mr Khan said police would be made apolitical so that they check crime without taking any political pressure.
Chiding those working against the armed forces, Mr Khan expressed his support for the army and added that how they could defend Pakistan from foreign oppression, if they would not be properly funded.
He also vowed to introduce a programme for promoting tourism and better environment. He said he would not let the Pakistanis tread on the path of destruction any further and would “serve this brave nation till the last drop his blood”.
Earlier PTI vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing the rally said the nation had given four terms to the PPP and elected Nawaz Sharif as prime minister thrice yet every Pakistani was under Rs130,000 debt.
Mr Qureshi also charged the masses at the venue with different party slogans including seeking commitment that they would elect Mr Khan as prime minister. “Na teri wari na meri wari – Agli Imran di wari” (Neither your no mine – Next turn is of Imran Khan).
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, ousted PTI leader Jehangir Tareen, party leaders Chaudhry Sarwar, Shirin Mazari, Abdul Aleem Khan and Fawad Chaudhry also spoke.
Also present on the stage, Awami Muslim League president Sheikh Rasheed announced his support for the PTI in all constituencies during the upcoming general elections.
Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2018