PRIME Minister Imran Khan addresses the launching ceremony of Zindagi App on Monday.—PPI
PRIME Minister Imran Khan addresses the launching ceremony of Zindagi App on Monday.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged the provinces and other stakeholders to combat the menace of drugs and child abuse by launching a massive countrywide campaign against them to protect the youth.

“Drug addiction among school going children and child abuse are two big issues confronting our society which need to be addressed through collaborated efforts of the government, provinces, Anti-Narcotic Force, police and teachers,” the prime minister said while launching a mobile application called “Zindagi” (life) which can be used for lodging complaints against drug abuse and creating awareness among parents and teachers about how to protect children from the menace.

“Our mosques and ulema should also play their role in eradicating these menaces. Ulema can create awareness among people about the growing use of drugs in educational institutions in their Friday sermons,” he added.

The prime minister said he had got separate briefings from inspectors general of police (IGs) of Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and was shocked to know that a new synthetic drug called “ice” was being used by the pupils of expensive and high-profile schools as they were more vulnerable to the drug. “Once they [schoolchildren] use ice they fall prey to other drugs as well. There was a time when we heard there were drugs in universities. Now drugs are present in schools,” he added.

Launches mobile app to protect youth from the menace, meets Virginia University students

Prime Minister Khan said powerful mafias were behind unbridled drug abuse in the country and they always kept themselves safe from any action of the police and drug controlling authorities because of their money. “On my directives a raid was conducted by the police in KP but the drug pushers had fled before the raid because someone in the police had already informed them about the police action.”

He regretted that Pakistan was among top countries where child pornography was on the higher side. “People don’t like to talk about this issue due to shame but our government raised it as a national issue because it is an epidemic. In both these matters [child and drug abuses], mobile phones have aggravated the situation. We have decided to combat both these issues on an emergency basis,” he added.

However, the prime minister stressed that controlling the two menaces could not be the responsibility of only the police or any single department, but the whole nation should be united to combat these issues.

He said the Zindagi App was an effort to raise awareness among the parents and teachers about the danger of drug abuse and how to tackle it.

The app features a complete collection of drug awareness, drug prevention and treatment, rehabs locations, success stories and supportive community to help and meditate drug victims. It can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

On the occasion, a book aimed at creating awareness about drugs was also launched. Prime Minister Khan emphasised the need for introducing the book in all schools to increase knowledge and awareness about the issue.

Students meet PM

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the present government was striving to introduce a uniform curriculum in the country so as to eliminate current education-based discrimination in society. He said promotion of human resource and development was a big challenge in the presence of three different education systems.

He was talking to a delegation of students from Business Administration Department of Virginia University, who were currently on a visit to Pakistan to have first-hand information about the potential of business and tourism in the country.

During the interactive meeting, matters relating to challenges faced by the country, reforms agenda of the present government, positive aspects of Pakistani society, existing potential of the country in diverse sectors, economic challenges and future strategy were discussed.

Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan was bestowed by Allah Almighty with abundant resources, but unfortunately development process in the country got stagnant due to corruption and neglect of human resource promotion by the previous governments. “Pakistan was the fastest developing country in South Asia in the decade of 1960s, but the political philosophies of the decades of 1970s and 1980s not only led to blocking of industrial development but also inclusion of money and corruption in politics,” he added.

Mr Khan said he was fighting against what he called “mafia” which had been creating hurdles in the way of country’s progress, adding that the challenge before him was not only the elimination of corruption but also improving the education system. He said the present government believed in the protection of minorities’ rights and deemed them equal citizens. “Our religion Islam and the teachings of the Father of Nation give us the lesson of protecting minorities’ rights.”

About current regional situation, the prime minister said the Indian government’s policies based on the philosophy of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) posed serious threats to the regional peace. “Oppressive policies of the Indian government have endangered the identity of Indians themselves and identity and existence of 500 million minorities living in India,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2020