Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had won the people's mandate in the 2018 general elections without dishing out billions of rupees in development funds and solely on the basis of its performance.
Speaking at a ceremony held in connection with the completion of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's 100 days in office, the prime minister thanked the people of KP for re-electing his party this year and said that the PTI had not employed any "traditional, political tactics" to win the polls.
"In 2013 [elections], we got a coalition government and in 2018, the people of Pakhtunkhwa who never give another chance [to political parties] gave the PTI a fantastic mandate," he said in his address at Peshawar's Nishtar Hall.
In a reference to the PML-N, he claimed that the previous government of Punjab had spent billions in development funds in order to influence the 2018 elections.
He termed KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan as an "honest" man. He said the people had "made a lot of fun" when the PTI elected Usman Buzdar, who hails from a backward region, as the Punjab chief minister.
"The people of Punjab were in the wrong habit for the past 30 years of seeing a chief minister who acts a king," he said, referring to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and president Shahbaz Sharif. In comparison, he said, Usman Buzdar was a "simple man" who did not use a heavy protocol or spend lavishly.
"[Buzdar] is an honest and a courageous [man] who stood up in the face of big mafias," Khan said.
He said it was for the first time in Pakistan's history that a government (of PTI) was making efforts to create a uniform education system in the country which he said would be crucial in bridging the rich-poor divide.
He reminded the ministers and officials seated in the audience that all of them needed to go to their offices daily and remain there till the evening, adding that he will know whether or not they are going to their offices.
"And then none of you should say 'my ministry was taken away from me' [if you are replaced for not going to work]," the prime minister cautioned.
In a lighter vein, Khan said previous governments always used to be afraid that if a minister is removed, he or she will form a forward bloc and "the government will be toppled". "We don't even face that issue now," he added, amidst laughter from the audience.
"Keep in mind, I am receiving messages from a lot of MPAs who all want to become ministers, so if you don't work [be ready to be replaced]," he said tongue in cheek while addressing the ministers.
The premier reminded the provincial lawmakers that the sole target of their 100-day plan should be to create policies for the uplift of the poor segment of the society. He urged the officials to remind the bureaucrats working under them that they needed to ensure 'ease of doing business' to generate investment in the country.
'Pakistan has arranged US-Taliban talks'
Prime Minister Khan reiterated that the same United States "that had been asking us to 'do more'" is now asking Pakistan to facilitate its talks with the Afghan Taliban.
"When I used to say this matter cannot be resolved without dialogue, [they] would term me 'Taliban Khan'," he said, revealing that Pakistan had arranged talks between the US and the Taliban that are scheduled for December 17.
If peace is achieved in Afghanistan, he said, Peshawar would become a hub for tourism and commerce. He also announced that the Balahisar Fort in the city would be turned into a centre for tourism in order to generate revenue.
Khan said the government was collecting funds for the Mohmand dam, which when constructed will "solve Peshawar's water problem forever".
Before the ceremony, the premier inaugurated a shelter home in Peshawar during his one-day visit to the provincial capital.
The prime minister was also briefed on four more shelter homes that have been built by the KP government as part of its 100-day plan. The homes will have the capacity to accommodate 200 people each.
Last month, the premier had laid the foundation stone of a shelter house for the homeless in Lahore.
An official statement had said the prime minister would also attend a special meeting of the KP cabinet today. He will be briefed on the province's 100-day performance.
It said that the provincial government had identified 25 initiatives to pursue during the next five years under the premier’s directions.
In health sector, the KP government has planned to recruit additional 4,000 lady health workers (LHWs) to ensure coverage of all rural areas in addition to rolling out a rural ambulance service to transport mothers and children to health facilities. The government will also ensure that 80 per cent of expectant mothers give birth in health facilities.
In agricultural sector, the government plans to introduce a functional IT-based market intelligence system to increase farmers profit by 15-20 per cent along with reclaiming 5,500 hectares of cultivatable wastelands.
It said that KP would become the first province to launch police station-based budget this year along with fourfold increase in the number of female police officers.