• Announces card scheme for farmers, e-voting plan to make next polls credible
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said purging the country from corrupt rulers was one of the main reasons behind the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s formation in mid 1990s.
Launched in Lahore’s Holiday Hotel some 25 years ago by a few people who believed corruption was destroying the country, the PTI became the country’s first party that brought the issue of corruption on national agenda, said the prime minister in a video message on the occasion of the 25th Youm-i-Tasees (founding day) of his party.
Mr Khan said working on this agenda, the PTI government in its two and a half years managed to steer the country out of crisis and brought it on the track of progress and prosperity. However, he said all those elements and cartels that had benefited from the corrupt system rallied against him. “It’s the fight we are fighting and Insha’Allah we will win,” he asserted, adding that his party was fighting for the rule of law, which would soon meet with success, as it was ‘a battle for the soul of Pakistan’.
The prime minister said he was going to announce a much-demanded Kissan cards scheme to bring about a green revolution, easing the life of farmers. For the first time, he said, farmers were happy with the government’s policies for getting right prices for their yields including wheat and sugarcane.
Among other projects, the prime minister mentioned that the government was working on introduction of e-voting system in the country to make the next general elections most transparent and credible so that everyone accepted results. “We are
introducing internationally-recognised electronic voting machines to ensure fair elections in which even loser will accept defeat and no one will raise any objection on the winner,” he said.
When the PTI came to power after 2018 general elections, it was the most difficult phase of his life, Mr Khan said. “In the history of Pakistan, no one ever had inherited such a government [as he did] when the country was at the brink of bankruptcy with record deficit,” he added.
“Nations destroy not because of wars and lack of resources but corruption. There are two types of corruption — one at the lower level and another that destroys nations is the corruption of rulers,” he said, explaining that he launched the party when rulers were committing money laundering and that was the main reason of establishing PTI.
The cricketer-turned politician said the first 15 years of his political struggle were quite tough as his party got only one seat in two general elections. “Many of my companions left. But I did not give up, as I had learnt through the cricket that no one can lose who do not accept defeat,” Mr Khan added.
He said Pakistan had vast potentials and resources but the country would rise only when there would be rule of law and justice. For this, he added, his party had been striving since day one. He criticised the previous rulers saying that the country’s debt soared, foreign reserves depleted, and the current account deficit hovered around $20 billion.
In those trying times, he said, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China provided succor and expressed his gratitude to the countries for helping the rupee against dollar.
The prime minister said he could take pride in his government’s performance as “now the current account is in surplus and the country’s reserves are increasing with rupee getting stronger. People are getting confidence due to the economic growth”.
At present, he said, the construction sector was growing rapidly, cement sale was soaring, and the large-scale manufacturing and vehicles sale were on the rise. Besides, “Two big dams were being constructed in the country after a gap of 50 years,” he said while highlighting achievements of his government.
The government was also focusing on wealth creation in the country by giving incentives to the small and large industry. He also mentioned the ambitious projects of Ravi River Urban Front City Lahore and Bundal Islands in Karachi. Through a private-public partnership, he believed, both mega projects would attract huge investment. Besides, the tourism sector also possessed huge potential, he added.
Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2021