Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday launched Pakistan’s first ever locally manufactured electric motorcycle.
Speaking at a ceremony in Islamabad, the prime minister said the launch of the electric motorcycle was a “futuristic step”, adding that his government's new electric vehicle (EV) policy laid down a plan and defined a direction for the future.
The launch of the electric motorcycle is part of the present government’s five-year Pakistan Electric Vehicles Policy 2020-2025, approved last year. The policy envisages targeting a robust electric vehicle market having a 30 per cent and 90 per cent share in passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks by 2030 and 2040, respectively.
During his speech, the prime minister said the EV policy was part of the larger initiative of making the country clean and green.
"EVs, particularly electric motorcycles as they are used more, will have to be introduced in cities to curb pollution," he said.
He added that “When you decide to keep your air, water and cities clean, you have to take initiatives like the 10 Billion Tsunami programme,” and lamented that Pakistan was one of the few countries with minimal tree cover.
The prime minister said another step that the government had taken to increase the tree cover was the setting up of national parks.
He said it was for the first time that measures Pakistan was taking to improve the environment were being acknowledged internationally.
“The world now recognises Pakistan as one of the few countries that are leading the campaign against global warming.”
'Long-term planning leads to progress'
The PM stressed the need for long-terming planning, terming it crucial for a country's progress.
"Countries that have progressed thought about the future," the premier said, giving the example of China.
The prime minister said if policies in a country kept on changing from election to election, the country would have no roadmap for the future.
"Policies have to be devised for the long term so that we leave a roadmap for future generations," he emphasised.
Master plans for cities
The prime minister also announced that the government was preparing master plans for cities.
Particularly giving the example of Islamabad in this regard, he regretted that tree cover in the capital had reduced significantly over the years, which he said was due to a lack of planning.
“And so we are making master plans for cities, and some of these plans are due to complete in six months,” he said. “We will be focusing on water treatment, discharge of waste and installation of [waste] treatment plants [as part of the plans].”
With regards to Lahore and Peshawar, the premier recalled that the cities were once called the cities of gardens.
“But now pollution has increased to such an extent, especially in Lahore, that it poses threats to human life,” he said.
Similarly, in Karachi, sewage was being dumped into the sea, he said, again attributing these problems to the lack of long-term planning.
“We are working on long-term plans for these cities for the first time in Pakistan,” the prime minister said.
He added the government was also taking measures to ensure that the country did not face a current account deficit and to restore people’s confidence that the taxes they pay would not be squandered.
Earlier, Federal Industries Minister Khusro Bakhtiar addressed the ceremony, saying the government had announced the policy to boost automobile production in the country and giving incentives for the manufacture of EVs.
He said that the launching of electric motorbikes would introduce a new sector in the economy that would ultimately help pace up its growth rate.
The minister said the new policy would not only focus on auto development but auto exports as well.