Law will decide sugar barons’ fate, says PM

Published April 15, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the media after a groundbreaking event for the Naya Pakistan Housing Project in Sargodha. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the media after a groundbreaking event for the Naya Pakistan Housing Project in Sargodha. — DawnNewsTV

SARGODHA: Prime Minister Imran Khan dampened the hopes of some two dozen ruling party lawmakers who are struggling for some sort of a patch-up between him and Jahangir Tareen.

“They (sugar mills) have fleeced masses by making a cartel. Some 60 to 70 mills drew Rs140 billion from people’s pocket,” the prime minister told media after a groundbreaking event held here in connection with the Naya Pakistan Housing Project.

Mr Khan said he was ready to speak to those who had reservations over the proceedings (against Tareen), but the government would uphold the law. “There can’t be different laws for the rich and the poor,” he declared.

The premier said the government had to work in the best interest of people and that was why it asked the Federal Investigation Agency to probe the matter. “During the investigation, several horrific things surfaced.”

The prime minister said some two to three changes would be made in the cabinet in a couple of days.

Speaking at the ceremony, PM Khan said the low-cost housing schemes had been taken in hand to fulfil the masses’ dream of owning their house. He said the Punjab government had played a vital role in initiating the project and it would be started in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well.

He said that 64-kanal land had been earmarked for construction of 230 low-cost houses in the suburb of Sargodha. He said it was very difficult to launch a low-cost housing scheme as there was no concept of financing for the poor by commercial banks. “The State Bank of Pakistan after lengthy dialogues with various banks convinced them to finance this project.”

The prime minister regretted that 40 per cent people in Karachi were living in katchi abadis without basic civic amenities and were ignored because they were poor, “but we have planned to provide well-equipped housing at easy installments”.

As many as 1,175 such three-marla houses will be constructed at six different locations in Sargodha. The government of Punjab will provide the land and the Frontier Works Organisation will construct the houses. The Bank of Punjab will finance this project against mortgage of houses which will be allotted to the deserving people on easy installments.

The Naya Pakistan Housing Authority will allot the houses through an open draw. So far 33,528 applications have been received.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that under the project, three-marla houses would be constructed at 133 stations and initially 10,000 houses would be built across the province.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2021

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