Prime Minister Imran Khan put a greater focus on his government's plans ahead rather than analyse the tasks already accomplished, at a special event held at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad on Thursday to review his first 100 days in power.
Khan, who was the last of an assortment of speakers at the event attended by government functionaries, began by thanking First Lady Bushra Bibi for putting up with his tough schedule, adding that "I have taken just a single day off in the first 100 days".
He said the policies adopted by his government in the first century of days in power were inspired by the state of Madina.
"In Madina, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) adopted policies that were based on compassion; all policies were made for the poor," he said. "The tax system of Zakat was established where money was collected from the rich and redistributed to the downtrodden."
A major contributing factor to the "downtrodden's" plight, the prime minister said, is corruption, and explained why he took a hardened stance against the practice.
"The difference between developed and underdeveloped countries is corruption," he said. "We have so many assets but we are still behind, and our institutions are in shambles — all because of corruption.
"I did not know the extent of theft and corruption until I came to power. Every day something new comes up."
Among the measures taken by the government in its first 100 days, the PM said, were:
Strengthened the FIA to curb money laundering
Signed agreements with 26 countries [to share information and recover assets]
Created a task force to improve the situation of government hospitals
Recovered Rs350 billion worth of land as part of the anti-encroachment drive
Lodged FIRs against bigwigs involved in power theft
Allotted land to build shelters for poor people in Rawalpindi and Lahore
The prime minister dedicated a sizable portion of his speech outlining his future plans, saying: "Four million children will be provided nourishment in order to reduce stunted growth, whereas the Benazir Income Support Programme will be expanded."
The premier said that he intends to improve the economy through the provision of quality chickens and eggs to women in rural areas.
He said the government would give eggs and chickens to rural women so they could start their own poultry business.
“The project has been tested and the government will provide injections to them for raising the chickens faster. This way they will have nutrient food for eating and more chickens and eggs to sell,” said the prime minister.
PM Khan vowed to equip farmers with modern technology.
"Small farmers are left behind because they do not have the technology, knowledge and money," he said. "We have to provide them the latest machinery and subsidies so they can purchase [latest] machinery."
The premier said that Pakistan's fisheries exports are "non-existent despite water resources", adding that "a private party has done a pilot project through which shrimp farming can be done".
He also floated the idea of "caged fishing, especially in Balochistan" which he said has "so much potential; we can export as well".
Regarding the water crisis, PM Khan offered a "low-cost and quick" solution.
"Bhasha Dam will take time as it's a huge project," he said. "We found out that if we retain water in canals etc, it will conserve more water."
PM Khan labelled the "nationalisation of industries in the 1970s" a "wrong decision", stressing the importance of the creation of wealth in growing economies.
"Investments cannot come until investors make money," he explained. "People must be given a chance to make money."
The prime minister talked up Pakistan's geographical location and population demographics, which he said make the country an attractive market for foreign investors.
He urged the expansion of the tax net, explaining that low tax collection leads to inflation. "How is it that only 72,000 people show their income above Rs200,000?" he wondered.
PM Khan said that Pakistan's tourism industry has great potential, adding that a task force has been formed to promote the country's religious and ecological tourism.
The prime minister gave an overview of the planned legal forms, for which he credited Law Minister Farogh Naseem.
As part of the reforms, he said, "civil courts will have to decide cases within a year and a half".
"Legal aid authority will provide legal help to people who cannot afford to hire one," he vowed.
PM Khan said he "is aware that our salaried class is under pressure" due to inflation but assured that "I am doing whatever i can to [take you out of this problem]."
Earlier, Senator Faisal Javed had formally opened the event with a brief intro before making way for recitation of the Holy Quran.
Minutes later, the senator reclaimed the rostrum before a video highlight of the prime minister and the federal government's first 100 days in power was played for the audience.
PM took a U-turn on my advice: Umar
Finance Minister Asad Umar used a cricketing analogy to describe his job, saying "I was sent in to bat when the ball was swinging and seaming both.
"I get asked whether I am scared but I have not been unsure even for a single minute" that the party manifesto will be implemented.
The finance minister said that the PTI government "inherited a deficit of S2 billion" which he said has already been "reduced by S1bn".
Umar explained the government's decision to also seek alternate channels instead of solely relying on the International Monetary Fund to plug the financing gap.
"Economists are asking me why I did not just close my eyes and sign IMF contract," he said. "We will not hide behind the IMF. If we [sign a deal], we will do so on our terms, and we will not lie to the people even if the truth is bitter."
The minister revealed that it was upon his advice that the PM reneged on his promise to not travel abroad in the first 100 days.
"I take credit for telling the PM that 'you will have take a U-turn on your promise to not travel for 100 days because this was in favour of the country.'" he recalled. "So he agreed and toured different countries."
Umar defended his taxation and pricing policies, explaining that the tariffs were hiked only of those commodities that are used by the affluent section of the society.
"I am not saying that all problems have been solved and Pakistanis are not facing any problems but in the past 100 days we have set the direction."
Foreign Minister Qureshi talks of 'improvement in international relations'
Speaking on Pakistan's international relations, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Pakistan's case at global level was not heard before — something he said his ministry was trying to address.
"Our neighbour wanted to weaken Pakistan," he said. "We could not present Pakistan’s case before the world because we did not have a lawyer.
"We decided that we would make our foreign office more interactive and started cultural diplomacy. We decided to take guidance and advice from former diplomats. We will also create a specialised foreign office, [and appoint] trained personnel.
"You will be happy to know that in 100 days we have had 16 multilateral engagements."
The foreign minister said that the first thing on the PTI government's foreign agenda was to have better relations with Afghanistan.
Qureshi also discussed Pakistan's bilateral relations with India, saying: "Tensions with India are not hidden from anyone but our approach is people-centric and we need peace for people to prosper. We need peace in order to speed up the development of our country.
He reminded the audience that "Imran khan said he will take two steps for every 1 step India takes" but regretted that "they refused to engage even after the letter written to Narendra Modi".
PTI did in 100 days what others did not in 10 years: PM's adviser
Mohammad Shahzad Arbab, the PM's Adviser on Establishment, was the first speaker of the event.
"I remember when we talked about the 100-day agenda, our friends had warned us that we were setting a trap and creating difficulties for ourselves," he said. "I admit that they were right but we wanted to rise above political point scoring."
The adviser to the PM reminded the audience that the PM's 100-day agenda was about setting the direction of the government.
Arbab claimed that the PTI government "held regular cabinet meetings, adopted austerity and held itself accountable".
"We have posted our performance on our website so people can give their feedback," he said, adding: "Thirty-four promises were related to reforms [of which] we have completed 18 successfully. Work on the rest is underway.
"When we say these plans are 'complete' we mean that they are ready for launch."
The adviser to the PM recounted the measures taken by the federal government in several sectors, including repatriation of laundered wealth, local government reforms and economic steps to boost the local industries.
Arbab shed light on the government's flagship housing scheme, which he said "would create homes for the poor and also create jobs".
The adviser claimed that "the business circle has welcomed our decision to separate tax collection from the FBR".
He touched upon the progress made on a variety of PTI promises, including "social reforms, water policy, primary education as well as the 10 billion tree tsunami plan".
Arbab discussed the government's measures on the education front, including the planned conversion of the PM House into a university.
The adviser also talked about the promises which he said remain incomplete thus far, including the formation of a new province for the south Punjab region.
He, however, said that the party remains committed to the cause and will soon "form a separate secretariat" for south Punjab.
Arbab gave an update on the KP-Fata merger, saying that the development plans for tribal areas are close to being finalised.
The adviser termed Balochistan as "Pakistan's backbone" and assured that measures are being taken to end the province's "feeling of alienation".
Arbab claimed that "in 100 days we have achieved what they [past governments] did not in past 10 years".
"In the past, parties would forget their agenda after coming into power. In my 36 years of service, I have not seen the dedication with which this government has worked towards its agenda."
PM Khan is going to make some important announcements during the ceremony, according to Radio Pakistan, and take the nation into confidence over the government’s achievements.
While opposition parties are terming the 100-day performance of the government as “unimpressive, ridiculous and full of lies and U-turns”, the ruling party leaders are boasting the period with “remarkable achievements”, claiming that the country has been put on the right track.
Some three months before the July 25 general elections, PTI chairman Imran Khan had unveiled his party’s ambitious “agenda” outlining the party’s commitments for starting work within the first 100 days of forming government after the polls.
The salient features of the agenda were expeditious merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bifurcation of Punjab and reconciliation with estranged Baloch leaders.
The 100-day agenda also contained a plan for introducing a development package for Karachi and a programme for alleviation of poverty, besides a number of steps for improvement of economy.
Presenting the salient points of the economic policy of the PTI government, Asad Umar, now finance minister, had promised that the government would create 10 million jobs, revive manufacturing, rapidly grow small and medium enterprises sector, facilitate private sector to build five million houses, reform tax administration and transform state-owned-enterprises.
Later, speaking at the first formal press conference after the elections and before assuming the charge as finance minister, Umar had said that offering any relief or subsidy to the people during first 100 days was like giving lollipops. He said the first 100 days would also not see a decision that would change the destiny of the nation, but a clear direction on what “we promised and where we are headed for stock-taking”.
The opposition parties allege that the government has totally failed to deliver at almost all the fronts, particularly economy and law and order situation. According to the opposition, the government has not done its homework properly.