ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said the Sindh government should make just distribution of development funds so that uplift schemes could also be initiated in neglected areas of the province.
During a meeting with a delegation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the prime minister said the federal government had made sure timely release of development funds to all the provinces under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.
According to the Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan said: “As the federal government ensures timely release of funds under NFC it is also essential that Sindh government makes just distribution of provincial funds.”
He said the government was taking all-out measures to resolve issues faced by the people of Karachi.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar and MQM leaders MNA Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Senator Faisal Sabzwari attended the meeting.
The prime minister was updated on the progress made in the ongoing development projects in Karachi.
PM Khan said early completion of the federal government projects in Karachi and early launching of newly announced schemes there were among priorities of the government.
In a separate meeting with Special Assistant to the PM on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, the prime minister was informed that for the first time in the country’s history, agricultural mapping had been done under which barren lands would be brought under cultivation and utilisation of water resources would be further improved.
Under the mapping, besides annual cultivation and identification of appropriate crops across the country, including Baluchistan, a comprehensive plan for promotion of livestock had also been formulated, it was informed.
The prime minister was further apprised that besides making six million acres of land in Cholistan cultivable and distributing it among farmers, corporate farming would also be introduced.
Some members of the National Assembly belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa called on Prime Minister Khan and discussed with him projects, particularly those related to promotion of education in the province.
Those who attended the meeting included MNAs Saleemur Rehman, Saleh Mohammad, Mujahid Ali, Noor Alam Khan, Malik Fakhar Zaman, Malik Anwar Taj, Sher Akbar Khan and Gul Dad Khan.
They highlighted the ongoing development projects as well as issues related to their constituencies. Promotion of tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and projects on climate change also came under discussion.
PM Khan said the government was making earnest efforts to make Pakistan a polio-free country despite the challenges in the wake of Covid-19 crisis.
PM talks to Bill Gates
In a telephonic conversation with Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Khan discussed the ongoing polio eradication campaign in Pakistan as well as on the country’s response to the public health challenges amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The prime minister appreciated the work of BMGF for socio-economic uplift of the most disadvantaged people around the globe, especially for promoting universal access to health services and combating of infectious diseases.
He expressed gratitude for BMGF’s partnership with Pakistan to rid the country of polio and reaffirmed that polio eradication remained a key national priority for the government.
PM Khan said a special polio eradication campaign had been launched in the country earlier this month (June 7-11), during which vaccine drops were administered to over 33 million children under five years of age.
He expressed satisfaction over the substantive progress in cutting the transmission of poliovirus in the country and expressed the hope that polio would be eradicated soon with the support of all partners.
According to the PM Office, Bill Gates expressed appreciation for the prime minister’s leadership for this national cause and said that while progress was encouraging, keeping up pressure would be the key to ending transmission of poliovirus for good.
The prime minister also highlighted the government’s efforts to overcome the third wave of coronavirus in the country.
Alluding to Pakistan’s potential in the information technology sector and the government’s business-friendly IT policy, the prime minister encouraged Microsoft to further expand its footprint in Pakistan. He also encouraged Bill Gates to consider setting up a Microsoft incubation lab in Pakistan.
The telephone call follows a high-level GPEI (Global Polio Eradication Initiative) Polio Oversight Board (POB) delegation’s visit to Pakistan in early June, when Prime Minister Khan met the POB leadership and convened the National Task Force on Polio Eradication. The new GPEI Polio Eradication Strategy was launched on June 10 at a global (virtual) event featuring high-level participation from Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2021