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Whoever forms next govt will face biggest economic challenge: Imran

July 10, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan holds a copy of the party’s manifesto for the 2018 general elections at the launch on Monday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan holds a copy of the party’s manifesto for the 2018 general elections at the launch on Monday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday unveiled its manifesto promising to make Pakistan a Madina-like welfare state with focus on creation of job opportunities, launch of low-cost housing schemes, reforms in institutions, expansion of tax base, eradication of corruption and formulation of water policy.

Speaking at the launch of the manifesto titled “The Road to New Pakistan”, PTI chairman Imran Khan declared that his party after coming to power would launch projects to encourage the private sector to build five million low-cost houses, which would create jobs and revive at least 100 industries.

He said the PTI government would seek the help of a leading UK builder for the projects’ implementation.

According to him, China-Pakis­tan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be turned into the “real game changer”. The party if voted to power would establish four tourist resorts every year, he said.

The PTI chief said his party had prepared a plan to resolve the energy crisis and announced that “mini-micro hydel stations” would be set up to generate electricity by using turbines on natural springs. He said the PTI government had built 300 such stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

PTI launches manifesto two weeks before polls

Mr Khan conceded that the only sector where they had failed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was setting up of a powerful accountability commission. He said they failed because there were three parallel systems functioning in the province to check corruption. He said they would bring reforms in National Accountability Bureau, Federal Board of Revenue, Federal Inves­tigation Agency and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. However, he praised the incumbent NAB chairman and said “his performance is very good”.

He highlighted the achievements of the PTI-led coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including de-politicisation of police, introduction of health cards, tsunami project of a billion trees, promotion of tourism, and improvement of government schools and hospitals. He said his government had sacked some 5,000 policemen for corruption.

He announced that the party would take steps to improve the agriculture sector. Appreciating Malik Amin Aslam, a former minister in the military regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf, for his role in the tree plantation, Mr Khan announced that he would be adviser or a minister for environment in the PTI government.

The PTI chief admitted that implementation of the manifesto would be a great “challenge” for him and his party. “No one should expect that this manifesto will be implemented easily,” he said highlighting salient features of the manifesto which was issued only two weeks before the July 25 elections.

The PTI chief was of the view that whosoever would form the government after the July 25 polls would have to face the “biggest economic challenge”, as the country’s foreign loan had increased from Rs6 trillion to Rs27 trillion in the past decade.

Mr Khan termed “justice and humanity” as the two basic principles to be followed by his government to turn Pakistan into a true welfare state, where taxpayers’ money would be spent on human development.

About water shortage, he said his party that had already suggested water conservation measures would also formulate a water policy for the country.

The PTI chief called for the creation of a new province in South Punjab and merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “South Punjab province is the need of the nation as presently the federation is lopsided,” he said, adding that the sense of deprivation was increasing in the people of southern Punjab due to the spending of most development funds on Lahore only.

The PTI has a special mention of Balochistan and Karachi in its manifesto under the headings “Champion reconciliation in Balochistan” and “Transform Karachi.”

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2018