Govt not to back down on accountability drive: PM

Published December 23, 2018
Lahore: Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a gathering to unveil the government’s 100-day agenda for Punjab at Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Saturday.
Lahore: Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a gathering to unveil the government’s 100-day agenda for Punjab at Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Saturday.

LAHORE: In a clear-cut message to the opposition parties, Prime Minister Imran Khan has asserted that the accountability process will not be stopped come what may.

“This will not happen,” he avowed. “I have accepted many illogical demands such as allowing a NAB under-trial prisoner to head the parliament’s accountability committee, but will never back down on accountability of the corrupt,” he declared.

The prime minister also asserted that Pakistan would ensure equal rights to all minorities and show Indian premier Narendra Modi’s government “how we treat the minorities in Pakistan in stark comparison to the minorities’ status in India”. He said voices were rising in India about discriminatory treatment against the minorities.

Speaking at an event to unveil the Prime Minister’s 100-day Agenda for Punjab at Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Saturday, Mr Khan with his characteristic vigour berated the opposition for demanding reconciliation and “making the parliament’s environment friendly”.

Punjab CM highlights his govt’s 100-day achievements

He said the previous two governments had taken refuge in the Charter of Democracy and ignored laying their hands on corruption and only the chief justice of Pakistan took notice of fake accounts during the caretaker set-up earlier this year.

Amid slogans by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers, the prime minister said he had begun his struggle for rooting out corruption from the country. He said Pakistan’s exports were standing at just $24 billion compared to much smaller countries Singapore and Malaysia’s exports of $330bn and $220bn, respectively.

Mr Khan said that the Shahbaz Sharif government had not only pushed Punjab into a deficit of Rs1.14 trillion but had also devoured government employees’ provident fund to the tune of Rs120bn.

He lauded Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for being honest and working for the welfare of the poor people of the province. Referring to his decision to convert PM House into a university, he said a woman legislator commented that Imran Khan could live somewhere else but the next prime minister might like to reside in PM House. He said he replied that her leader would not be able to become prime minister in many years to come.

Lodging a soft complaint with the media, the prime minister said it did not give due credit to the government’s anti-encroachment drive initiative. The government, he said, had recovered from Qabza mafia state land worth over Rs160bn. In Islamabad alone, he added, the government recovered state land worth Rs350bn.

“Why no government ever tried to recover state land that should have been used for public welfare,” he asked.

He praised Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht for his presentation on the ground realities of the province’s financial health. He regretted that the previous decade-long Shahbaz Sharif’s government had ignored southern Punjab and diverted its Rs250bn funds to develop Lahore that ultimately created problems for the Lahorites.

The prime minister said the government was actively working for the civil procedure code legislation to ensure that all civil matters were decided by courts within a year. He said the government was also working on police and agriculture reforms to provide relief to the masses and farmers.

The foreign investors and big companies had started approaching Pakistan for investment, he said, adding that Exxon Mobil, an American oil drilling company, had agreed to come after 27 years. He said the Exxon head told him that his company had seen something in the sea and checked whether gas was intact or leaked. “If gas is not leaked, it would be enough for Pakistan for next 50 years,” he said and added that the company would give results in April next.

Chief Minister Buzdar said the southern Punjab’s autonomous secretariat would begin working from July 1 next year.

He said the federal and provincial governments had already constituted executive councils to fulfil the promise of creating southern Punjab province on administrative basis.

Explaining his government’s 100-day performance through his written speech, the chief minister said Punjab was formulating its first water policy and water master plan besides developing small dams and water reservoirs.

Mr Buzdar said Punjab’s new local government system was in final stages that would offer 30 per cent development funds to the local government institutions aimed at empowering people at grassroots level.

He said the construction of five shelter homes in Lahore was nearing completion and added that such homes would be established in all 36 districts of the province.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018

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