DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Monday he did not know at the time of taking oath that Pakistan was on the verge of default.
“It was due to the concerted efforts of the coalition government and all other relevant institutions and prayers of the nation that the country was saved from default. The country still faces economic challenges but we will change its fate, as it is destined for fast-paced progress and prosperity,” he said while addressing a ceremony here after laying the foundation stones of different uplift communication, road, hydel, and power infrastructure projects.
Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Haji Ghulam Ali, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Advisor to the PM on Political Affairs Engineer Amir Muqam, Amir of Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-F Fazlur Rehman, relevant authorities and a large number of people were present.
Shehbaz said Pakistan suffered a whopping loss of about $30 billion due to floods and these woes were multiplied by the global inflation and recession, Russia-Ukraine conflict, and exorbitant prices of gas and oil in the international market.
He said that despite myriad economic challenges, including the post-flood situation, the coalition government was determined to steer the country out of the current difficulties.
“These challenges might be manifold but 220 million people of this country should not worry, as the coalition government with the support of its partners will steer the country out of the challenges,” said Shehbaz.
He said the nation would have have to work hard with devotion for progress and prosperity. “The coalition government will put Pakistan on the path of development only through hard work,” he added.
The premier said he had laid down the foundations for the commencement of mega-development projects in the backward areas of the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that during his previous visits, these areas were inundated with flood water and the residents faced immense destruction. He said Nowshera, DI Khan, Tank, Swat, Kalam, and Kohistan districts were badly affected by floods.
Destruction in Swat was caused mainly due to man-made structures erected in the middle of the course of the river, he said, and criticized the PTI government for its flawed policies.
The prime minister sarcastically said the PTI provincial government always talked about introduction of an efficient system, but the people witnessed the crumbling of that system whereas the government’s blunders in this regard could not be neglected.
He said collective efforts were being made by all the governments to overcome the flood situation, but still different areas in Sindh were still under flood water and the people in Gilgit-Baltistan were shivering from the biting cold.
The prime minister said the federal government had allocated a huge amount of Rs90 billion for the flood-affected people and each affected family was given Rs25,000 besides medicines and food.
The magnitude of the disaster was huge, he said, adding a donors’ conference would be held in Geneva on January 9 where Pakistan would remind the world that the climate-induced calamity was the result of global carbon emissions by the developed nations.
The prime minister assured the nation that the federal coalition government in collaboration with the provincial governments would not rest till complete rehabilitation of the flood-affected people.
The prime minister said construction of Hakla-Yarak motorway which had hugely reduced the travel time from Islamabad to DI Khan had been conceived and implemented by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
He said the whole country had been connected with a network of motorways and Nawaz Sharif solely deserved credit for the launch of such mega projects, adding that he had laid the foundation stone of the last segment of Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway section recently.
The prime minister reiterated that the Nawaz Sharif’s dream of a prosperous Pakistan would be fulfilled.
He regretted that during the PTI government, all these uplift projects initiated during the PML-N government were brought to a grinding halt.
Citing the Hakla-DI Khan motorway, the prime minister said it was part of CPEC conceived in 2017, but the PTI government put these projects into cold storage, thus affecting the development and progress of the country.
The prime minister also regretted that due to the faulty policies of PTI government, the friendly nations, including China, were dismayed. In a veiled reference to former prime minister Imran Khan, he said the PTI leader had brought disrespect to the country after selling out the precious gifts donated by the foreign leaders.
“They gave these precious gifts as a sign of fraternal ties with the people of Pakistan, but the former ruler sold them out in the open markets,” he added. He regretted that Imran had no concern for the public welfare and his government never accorded it any priority.
The prime minister said the coalition government still had eight months in power and after that period, the general elections would be held.
In the general elections, the public would decide, he said whether they would vote for the man who sold precious watches and was in the habit of leveling false allegations.
Enumerating the uplift projects, the prime minister said he had laid the foundation stones of Yarak to Zhob segment, restoration of Chashma Right Bank Canal, restoration of its eight power units that would generate 180MW power, Lakki Marwat University and the dams which had been vital for the prosperity of the area.
He also directed the chairman of WAPDA to implement these hydel projects in the shortest period with a well-devised strategy. He also cited the construction of the new airport which would provide travel facilities to the residents of the area.
The prime minister also praised the relevant institutions and the armed forces for their contributions and efforts during floods in the flood-devastated districts.
The prime minister also expressed his concerns over the rise of terrorism in the province and lauded the sacrifices and successful operation launched by the special services unit and the law enforcement agencies to eliminate terrorists. He said the security personnel who had laid down their lives for the motherland would be always remembered for their valour and bravery. The prime minister also expressed his grief and sorrow over the loss of security personnel in Balochistan in the terrorist attack. Shehbaz reiterated his resolve to uproot terrorism in all its forms by using all available resources. The premier informed the participants that he would be soon chairing a meeting to consider the situation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday spoke over phone with the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani and invited him to participate in the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan, to be co-hosted with the United Nations, in Geneva on January 9.
The prime minister thanked Sheikh Tamim for the generous humanitarian assistance provided by Qatar in the wake of the devastating climate-induced floods in Pakistan earlier this year.
He recalled that Pakistan now faced the enormous challenge of rehabilitation and reconstruction in a climate-resilient manner.
The prime minister highlighted that while Pakistan had mobilised its own limited resources to the extent possible, continued international support and solidarity was required to meet the daunting challenge of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas, and to build resilience against future climate shocks.
The prime minister congratulated the Amir on Qatar’s successful hosting of FIFA-2022 Football World Cup, which had set a new benchmark for international sports events.
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