• Vows to help Pakistan stand on its feet
• Urges world to back inclusive govt in Afghanistan for regional peace
ISLAMABAD: While proudly presenting “achievements” of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led coalition government over the past three years, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday vowed to help the country stand on its feet with dignity through progress and self-sustainment.
In an hour-long speech at the launch of the three-year performance report of his government, the prime minister said on assumption of power in August 2018, the PTI faced numerous ‘inherited challenges’ including financial instability, poverty, and inadequate education and health facilities. But currently there were several feathers in the cap of his government, particularly tackling the challenge of Covid-19 through its ‘smart lockdown strategy’, he said, adding that Pakistan had been recently ranked by The Economist as the ‘third-best performing country’ for handling the pandemic.
“When we came to power current account deficit was $20 billion but today it has declined to $1.8bn. In 2018 foreign reserves were $16.4bn which are now over $27bn. Total tax collection in the previous government was Rs3,800bn and now it is Rs4,700bn. Similarly, foreign remittances were $19.9bn in 2018 and now they are $29.4bn,” he said.
“We will have to make Pakistan stand on its own feet and will not let this country be used by anyone for anyone else’s war,” PM Khan emphasised.
The launching ceremony, which was held at Jinnah Convention Centre, was attended by the four governors, chief ministers of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly, federal cabinet members, parliamentarians and PTI youth.
At the ceremony, federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry presented the Report 2018-21, which has been compiled by the ministry, to the premier.
A documentary on the 22 years of Mr Khan’s political struggle and his three years in power was also screened on the occasion.
The 251-page report gives an outline of the achievements of 44 public bodies including ministries, divisions and departments. Besides defining the baseline of each sector, it focuses on key objectives, updates on initiatives, long-term strategies, legislative policy framework and the projects in the pipeline.
The report focuses on the government’s accomplishments despite the global economic recession in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
While discussing salient features of the government achievements, Prime Minister Khan compared his tenure with the previous regimes of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.
To uplift common man, he said, the government launched projects such as Naya Pakistan Housing Programme for affordable accommodation to low-income groups, Ehsaas programme for social security and the Kamyab Jawan Programme for imparting skills to youth to help them get employment.
Also to help poor and vulnerable segments of society, 54 laws were enacted including the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2020, Enforcement of Women Property Rights Act, 2020, and Legal Aid and Justice Authority Act, 2020, he added.
The main initiatives taken by the government are as under:
Karachi Nuclear Power Plant 2, low-cost housing under Naya Pakistan Housing, Ravi Urban Project, Rs1.1 trillion Karachi package, progress on construction of dams, inauguration of Rashakai SEZ, inauguration of heritage trail, Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Ehsaas Programme, Koi Bhooka Na Soye Programme, Kisaan Card, Insaaf Sehat Card, Kamyab Jawan Programme, One Nation-One Curriculum, Zaraat Say Khuraak Tak (from agriculture to food).
Pakistan’s first stent production facility, launch of country’s first Green Bond, people-friendly budget, upward economic trajectory, Roshan Digital Account, Roshan Apni Car and Roshan Samaji Khidmat, Electric Vehicle Policy, MG Motors launch, structural reforms, decrease in current account deficit, growth in textile industry, increase in exports, high remittances, as well as low tariff for electricity and gas for industrial consumption.
Foreign affairs: Kashmir cause, Palestine cause, Afghan peace process and countering Indian propaganda.
The report also highlighted miscellaneous other initiatives including GIS mapping system, Clean and Green Pakistan, e-voting machines introduction, voting rights for overseas, civil service reforms and accountability.
Lauds armed forces
Prime Minister Khan during his speech lauded the Army and Air Force for giving robust response to India after Pulwama incident. “It is because of our forces we warned Narendra Modi (Indian prime minister) of dire consequences in case of any misadventure,” he added.
While declaring that Islamabad would not become a part of anyone else’s war, Mr Khan said the country would not allow the killing of its own people as had happened in the US-Taliban war after the 9/11 attack.
He said “mistakes” had been committed by the army, the judiciary and politicians in the past, but a specific segment of society along with international elements was blaming the Pakistan Army for current situation in Afghanistan.
The prime minister urged the entire world to help Afghan Taliban establishing an inclusive government in Afghanistan after had they announced general amnesty, protection of human and women rights and vowed that their land would not be used against any other state. This showed they agreed to what the world had been emphasising in Doha talks. “Don’t make assumption that they (Taliban) will back out from their commitments and let them form an inclusive government which is imperative for the regional peace,” he said.
Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2021