KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday responded to criticism of his proposal to improve the country’s economy and eradicate poverty with the help of poultry.

Addressing a ceremony to mark his government’s 100 days in office on Thursday, the premier had said that he intended 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.

PTI recalls Bill Gates had launched similar campaign to help poor families in Africa by giving them chickens

However, the idea did not go well with critics on social media who had a field day criticising the prime minister’s “eggonomic” strategy.

Pakistan Muslim League leader and former federal minister for planning, development and reform Ahsan Iqbal tweeted: “After listening to IK speech last evening, I am SHOCKED and concerned for our country. Eggs, Desi chicken, Kattas based economy at a time when fourth industrial revolution is on the horizon is a much too serious comedy. It shows what kind of agenda is being discussed in PM office.”

Former minister of foreign affairs Khawaja Asif also took a jibe at the prime minister’s 100-day agenda and posted a clip of chicken laying eggs with a caption: “Finally, after 100 days contemplation, we have found the solution to 70 years of economic hardship. Progress and development is at the doorstep. Congratulations!”

Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Sukkur on Saturday, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Khursheed Shah said that Pakistan was being laughed at over the “chicken and eggs statement”.

“Most politicians talk about making the country a nuclear power and strengthening the federation but some talk about chicken and eggs,” he said.

Another PML-N leader and former minister for finance, revenue and economic affairs, Miftah Ismail, wrote: “On the 100th day, a dollar could buy a dozen eggs. On the 101st day a dollar can buy 13 eggs. Bas bahut ho gaya bhai. Kitni aur tabdeeli aaya gi?”

However, Prime Minister Imran Khan did not take hold back and called out his critics for their hypocrisy.

Sharing a Business Insider article about Bill Gates’ poverty alleviation strategy involving poultry farming to empower impoverished families, he tweeted: “For the colonised minds when desis talk about chickens combating poverty they get mocked, but when “walaitis” talk about desi chicken and poverty it’s brilliance!”

“These chickens are multiplying on an ongoing basis, so there’s no investment that has a return percentage anything like being able to breed chickens,” said the article quoting Mr Gates.

Earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s official account also tweeted in support of the premier’s plan and wrote: “Microsoft founder @BillGates launched a campaign to help extremely poor families in Africa by giving them chickens. However, when PM Imran Khan talks about it, it becomes an issue.”

“Propagandists really can’t rise above their hate!” it added.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

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