• Says talks possible with those with an ideology
• Hopes inflation will come down in three to four months
• Launches three projects worth Rs5.4bn
• Breaks ground of 23 schemes worth Rs36bn for Mianwali

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has yet again ruled out any reconciliation with looters and launderers of public money — his oft-employed reference to former premier Nawaz Sharif.

A nation can never rise or progress if it gives NRO (clean chit, in reference to the National Reconciliation Ordinance) to looters, the prime minister said, stressing: “My government will neither give an NRO nor reconcile with the looters of public money.”

“I, however, will talk to those who have an ideology or those who belong to the left or right wing politics for the resolution of the country’s problems,” Mr Khan said while addressing a public meeting in Mianwali on Saturday.

The prime minister asserted that he was ready to talk to people and peacefully resolve issues being confronted by the people of Balochistan, Waziristan and tribal areas.

He regretted that Pakistan, despite being an independent country, was never able to take independent decisions and played a slave to some nation or the other. “Now, this country will take only those decisions that will be in the interest of Pakistanis,” Mr Khan vowed.

He said he would ensure that looters of public money were punished because the nations that entered into deals with looters collapsed. “Every disciplined society keeps its thieves and dacoits in jails while ensuring supremacy of the law,” he remarked.

Mr Khan said he would make Pakistan a great nation by following two cardinal principles – rule of law and making it a welfare state.

He also spoke at length about the cause of price hike in Pakistan as well as the world over and hoped the prices would come down in three to four months. He went on to say the coronavirus pandemic had resulted in lockdowns and slowing down of business and economic activity, adding the US faced the highest inflation in history since 1982 and Pakistan had relatively not touched the highest inflation rate. The increased prices of oil, gas, coal and ghee resulted in a hike in rates of daily-use items that hit the masses hard. He further said the electricity prices also pushed people against the wall and blamed the previous governments for signing costly deals.

Mr Khan said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had launched the Health Card that will be handed out to each head of a family in Punjab to avail quality healthcare in public and private hospitals for their families up to Rs1 million. The cards would reach every person in Punjab between January and March, he added.

He also explained about different interest-free loan projects and the Ehsaas Ration scheme to offer daily-use items to the poor at a 30 per cent subsidy.

The prime minister said he would ensure that the areas deliberately kept backward by previous governments would be given massive funds to make them part of national development.

Mr Khan inaugurated three projects worth Rs5.4 billion as well as performed ground-breaking of 23 development schemes in health, education and road infrastructure that would be completed with around Rs36bn for the uplift of Mianwali district.

He also asked the youth of Mianwali to actively participate in the upcoming local government elections and work for the welfare and development of the district.

Earlier, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said a District Development Package valuing Rs360bn had been introduced in Punjab’s budget to ensure the development of all areas, including Thal, Cholistan and Koh-i-Suleman. “Punjab’s Rs740bn development budget is the highest in its history,” he claimed.

Mr Buzdar said the provincial government had announced 100,000 jobs and the vacancies would be filled soon. He further said the provincial government was establishing 21 universities, upgrading 27,000 schools, setting up 6,000 record centres, developed 13 economic zones and approved 16 cement factories.

MNA Amjad Ali Khan requested the prime minister for construction of a canal in Mohar area, linking the area with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through an interchange and development of industrial zones.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2021



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