Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday expressed his "heartfelt wish" for lasting peace in Afghanistan, saying that stability in the neighbouring country would not only bring relief for the Afghani people but also for the residents of Pakistan's tribal areas.
Addressing a rally in Mohmand, where he distributed Kifalat Cards among lower-income people, the prime minister assured that he will make all efforts to open the Afghan border so that trade can flourish in the tribal areas. He acknowledged that the opening of the border would also lead to job creation.
"Afghan people have been under extreme difficulties for the past 40 years. One war ends and another starts. The Americans came after the Russians left and then there was infighting.
"I hope that this peace accord succeeds as it will benefit the Afghan people as well as residents of our tribal areas," he said.
Olive gardens and industrial estate
Prime Minister Imran also announced the government's plans for the development of tribal areas, which included planting olive gardens and building an industrial estate.
The premier said that the country has to spend billions of rupees to import edible oils. He pointed out that olives were abundant in the tribal areas and the government planned to plant olive gardens so that edible oils can be extracted locally and import expenditure could be reduced.
He also promised to provide scholarships and loans for startup businesses to deserving people, under the Ehsaas welfare programme.
The prime minister also instructed Minister of Communications Murad Saeed to ensure that the tribal areas gain access to 3G and 4G network.
The premier noted that the tribal belt was rich in marble and announced the government's intention to build an industrial estate where marble-related industries would be established.
He also shone a light on the grave problem of high circular debt, which he said had increased because past governments had signed contracts with power firms that supplied electricity on expensive rates. In order to avoid inflation, the prime minister said, the government supplied power to masses on lower rates which led to increased circular debt. He said that his government had to increase electricity charges in order to overcome the debt and acknowledged that the move had caused industries to slow down.
He then vowed that the government will not increase electricity prices from now on and will instead find a way to talk to owners of the firms which supplied power.