LAHORE: Some people, including a few journalists, are trying to link Pakistan to its current and temporary problems, not to the dreams that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is striving to realise, said Prime Minister Imran Khan as he inaugurated the Ravi Riverfront Urban Project here on Tuesday.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony at Kala Khatai, a small town on the outskirts of Lahore, the prime minister said: “When you ask people stuck in a calamity like the recent urban flooding at Karachi, how you find (the PTI-promised) Naya Pakistan, how are they expected to respond? Of course, they bemoan price hike, unemployment, etc. All these troubles are then linked to Naya Pakistan.
“That is, however, not the Naya Pakistan. Rather, it is what I personally aspire for. An old adage advises: don’t judge people on what they have achieved, but on what they aspire for. All big leaders around the world, who transformed their societies, succeeded not because of any special education or other particular human faculties but only because they dreamed big. Mahathir Mohamad, who built Malaysia anew, is one example. All big feasts, national or personal, were dreamed first and achieved later. The PTI is dreaming big for Pakistan. Follow your dreams, burn your boats.”
Mr Khan then elaborating on the PTI model of Riyasat-i-Madina for Naya Pakistan said it was built on compassion. “The builders did not wait for affluence to arrive first and then go for their dream state, rather they built it on [the basis of] empathy and sympathy [where] Ansaar shared their meager wealth with those who migrated from Makkah after the Holy Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Madina. China became modern day example of the same when it lifted 700 million poor out of poverty – an inspiration for Pakistan as well,” the prime minister stated.
Imran blames some people for linking Pakistan to temporary problems and not to PTI dreams
He said it is for this guiding principle that the PTI created shelter homes. “Now it is in the process of setting standards for them ensuring clean water, standard meal, clean bedding and so on so that the less fortunate also feel being part of the society. While traveling through Lahore, I had seen people sleeping on roadsides and always dreamt for doing something for them. Now shelter homes are there to serve them,” he added.
Even during the Covid-19 crisis, his “feelings” for those people guided the government policy, he said, recalling that he had been advised repeatedly to go for complete lockdown, but “I always asked what the poor would do and avoided complete shutdown”.
In the same spirit, he said, the government decided that all new housing schemes, including Ravi Riverfront project, should spare a portion (affordable houses) for the less privileged. The government had spared another Rs30 billion for subsiding construction for those who could not afford it at current market rates, he announced.
About the Ravi Riverfront project, Mr Khan said: “This is very important because Lahore, where 40 per cent people live in slums, needs it. As Lahore had spread in an unplanned way in the past, this project will knock some sanity in city planning. It will also improve city aquifer and restore glory of the River Ravi, as Singaporeans did for their river running through the city. Pakistan needs it to kick start the construction industry.” The premier assured all-out help to the relevant authorities for early and smooth completion of the project.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020