Pakistan out of economic hardship, says PM

Published June 2, 2021
ZIARAT: Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiling a statue of the father of the nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah during his visit to the Quaid-i-Azam Residency on Tuesday.—PPI
ZIARAT: Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiling a statue of the father of the nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah during his visit to the Quaid-i-Azam Residency on Tuesday.—PPI

ZIARAT: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, estimated at around four per cent during the current fiscal (2020-21), the country has been steered out of economic hardship and is set to achieve further growth in the upcoming year.

“I have good news to share with you that the country is coming out of economic hardship. The GDP growth is estimated at around 4pc and has been made public,” said PM Khan while addressing a gathering here at Quaid-Azam Residency on Tuesday.

The prime minister visited Quetta and Ziarat along with federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhary and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri. He also addressed army officers doing staff course at Command and Staff College, Quetta.

The prime minister regretted that the opposition parties, which had been claiming about government’s failure for the past two and a half years, had started disputing the GDP growth figure. The opposition parties wanted the government to fail in economic terms, as they feared that if the government succeeded, their politicking would end, he remarked.

Imran quips he’s worried what opposition will do now

Also, since the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) came to power, the opposition parties had been giving deadlines for the end of government in three months or by December 31 etc, he said. “But I am worried about the opposition; what will they do now?” he jested.

Mr Khan said Pakistan would go further up [in economic terms] during his next government.

He said despite the economic restraints due to the debt burden it inherited and the fact that there was a coalition government in Balochistan, the federal government was spending much in the province. He argued that if the previous governments had spent more in Balochistan, the situation would have been better.

Elaborating, Mr Khan said the leaders had two choices either to make money for themselves or spend on the nation. “If I think about palaces in London, how I will think about the nation!” he reasoned. He then referred to the contribution of leaders of Malaysia and Singapore, Mahatir Mohammad and Lee Kuan Yew, in the development of their countries and said they did not make money or build palaces in London.

The prime minister said Ziarat could be turned into a tourism hub for enhancing income of locals and check poverty. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which had faced terrorism and even lost the lives of 500 policemen, achieved enhanced development during the 2013-18 government of the PTI, he said.

He also spoke about the health insurance scheme for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, under which each family could get free medical treatment for up to Rs1 million from any hospital. He said the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its report too acknowledged reduction in poverty, reduction of gap between the rich and the poor, and enhanced spending in the areas of human development, education, health and tourism.

Staff College address

While praising Pakistan Army during his address at Command and Staff College, Quetta, the prime minister said the country’s defence was impregnable due to professionalism and battle hardened armed forces of the country.

When pitched against its adversaries, the army produced unmatched results and successfully deterred the nefarious designs of Pakistan’s enemies, Mr Khan said.

He deliberated at length upon his vision of future of Pakistan where rule of law, across the board accountability and justice are order of the day.

Establishment of a prosperous state in line with Islamic principles and ideology of our great leaders like Allama Iqbal and Quaid-i-Azam could be achieved only if the nation work hard consistently, he said.

The government had made all-out efforts for progress in various sectors like agriculture, industry, technology and automation, he said.

Mr Khan then advised the army officers doing staff course to pursue their dreams without fear of failure to achieve their objectives.

Earlier on his arrival at Command & Staff College, Quetta, the prime minister was received by Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Quetta Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2021

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