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July 14, 2017
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PTI demands new polls, not new PM

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July 14, 2017

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PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday said that they demand new elections as removal of the prime minister will not do. He said India is fearing the exit of Nawaz Sharif.

Inaugurating state-of-the-art CT Scan machine and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s first organised physiotherapy and rehabilitation department at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), he said reforms had started providing much-needed relief to patients visiting public sector hospitals of the province.

“When we came to power, the entire health delivery system had almost collapsed. And there was in fact no proper system to run these tertiary care hospitals. It was a bigger challenge before us but we showed commitment and today doctors are coming from abroad to work in these public sector hospitals,” Imran Khan told reporters at the LRH.

“The change doesn’t happen overnight,” he said, and hoped the work they started would continue till the system became patient-friendly.Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Health Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai, Information Minister Shah Farman, Prof Dr Nausherwan Burki, the architect of health reforms, Dean LRH Prof Dr Arshad Javaid, Medical Director Prof Dr Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi, Hospital Director Dr Khalid Masud and other staff members of the hospital were present in the briefing.

Imran Khan said the basic purpose of his visit to the LRH, the oldest and largest public hospital of the province, was to inform the media about some of their achievements gained after implementation of health reforms. He said they faced a lot of challenges from certain elements in implementing health reforms and much of their time was wasted in litigations.

Imran added they were still facing numerous hurdles from some vested interests in improving the management issues of hospitals and providing the best available services to patients.The reforms, he said, had threatened interests of some powerful people in the hospitals and they, from the very beginning, started opposition to their reforms agenda.

Imran said they decided to approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan to inform it about the litigations at the Peshawar High Court against the health reforms in KP.The people had given them the mandate for introducing reforms in the system but some elements were unnecessarily creating hurdles in their way, he added.

“As we have committed with the people, health and education were our top priorities and that’s why we raised our health budget from Rs18 billion to Rs65 billion in four years. There were 3,500 doctors in the province and we alone appointed 6,500 doctors,” said the PTI leader.

He added that doctors were appointed to fill the gap. “And 95 per cent of the district headquarters hospitals are now having doctors in place,” he added.Imran Khan said he had personally requested his US-based cousin and a prominent physician, Prof Dr Nausherwan Burki to come and help them institutionalise the hospitals but when he came, some elements started propaganda against him.

“Prof Burki is a highly qualified person and it was him who helped us develop the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital, Lahore. I wanted to make it clear that we don’t pay a single penny to Dr Burki from the government exchequer. He spends his own money for coming all the way long from the US to Pakistan to help us improve our health delivery system,” Imran Khan maintained.

The PTI chief said the PTI-led government was the first one to introduce reforms in the past 40 years.He termed the Sehat Insaf Card system as one of their major achievements in the health sector, saying it was started from 18,000 families and “now expanded to 2,400,000 families.”

Each family is entitled of Rs500,000 free treatment in a year.“This is exactly what I wanted to do after coming into power. And this is the first step towards poverty eradication and setting up a welfare state,” Imran Khan said.

Under the Sehat Insaf Card scheme, he said they had spent Rs700 million on the treatment of poor patients so far. He said they are set to further expand health coverage to all left in the past from the health cover, and would give an additional Rs1,000,000 cards to the poor, extending it from 51 percent of the population to 70 per cent of the population of the entire province.

Imran said they decided the solarisation of all basic health units of the province that would cost them Rs360 million.About the two long-awaited health projects in Peshawar, the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) and Burns Centre, Imran Khan said he personally discussed these two projects with the KP government and they approved enough funds to make operational both the institutes in the coming six months.

“You will see a change in the next few months. We are working to encourage foreign qualified Pakistani doctors to come and serve in the PIC,” he said, adding that the Board of Governors (BoG) for PIC was approved by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday.

About the Burns Centre, Shahram Khan Tarakai said they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US Aid to provide Rs2.05 billion funds for the centre and its equipment.He said it was the federal government project but it didn’t spend even a penny in four years for this project and that was the major cause of its delay.

Mumtaz Alvi adds from Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has said that a meeting of all the opposition parties has been summoned Friday (today) to take each other into confidence on the issue of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and mull the future strategy on how to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to bow out.

PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a media conference here that all the opposition parties had a consensus stance on the resignation of the prime minister, whereas the ruling PML-N stood divided into two groups: one advocating avoidance of confrontation while the other insisting on being pushed out in order to become ‘political martyrs’. He claimed the fast-evolving situation compelled Nawaz to call the cabinet meeting to reassure his ministers that all was well, whereas factually things were not as such, with the PML-N facing a difference of opinion.

It is for this reason, he pointed out, that a meeting of the federal cabinet was convened but this forum also faced difficulty in defending the prime minister with regards to the JIT report.Qureshi charged that the prime minister had called them a coterie of conspirators. “He should explain siding with whom are we conspiring against him,” he challenged Nawaz.

About the PML-N’s propaganda about the so-called ‘conspiracy’ being hatched against them and CPEC, he said all this was lamentable. He added how the CPEC project might be affected by a regime change and pressed on the PML-N to bring into open ‘the conspirators’.

“It is pertinent to mention here that CPEC is not dependent on any government, it was initiated long before the PML-N government and it will keep going,” he made it clear.The PTI leader emphasised that there was no threat to the system or democracy but there was no legal, moral or political justification left with Nawaz Sharif to continue as the prime minister. He claimed all the opposition parties in the Senate also shared almost unanmity on this matter.

Qureshi maintained that they had approached all the opposition parties in the wake of the JIT report and it had been decided to exhange views on the latest scenario on Friday. He said a fresh Senate session had been summoned on July 17 on the opposition’s requistion while an initiative was being taken for the session of the National Assembly shortly. 

PTI Secretary General Jehangir Tareen claimed that there was no other option left with Nawaz but to step down and said there was a plethora of evidence, sufficient for his disqualification.   Tareen stated that they provided strong evidence to the Supreme Court regarding the Panama Leaks scandal. “And I do remember the PML-N’s lawyers accredited our evidences as fake and falsified, whereas we presented documents with certified stamps that proved that Maryam Nawaz is the actual owner of the London properties,” he said.

Lashing out at the PML-N, he stated that it has been proved after the rejection of the Qatari letter that all money being used was of the House of Sharifs which was laundered abroad.

Meanwhile, talking to journalists outside the Supreme Court, PTI Spokesperson Fawad Hussain Chaudhry claimed that all the cases against the PTI and Imran would go into the dustbin, as there was absolutely no chance of his (Imran’s) disqualification.

He said with regard to the purchase of Imran’s Bani gala property, PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi had filed a petition while the record of his assets in 1983-84 had also been submitted in the apex court.

Fawad noted that if there was no fraud, corruption of Qatari money involved, the money trail could easily be found and added the money trail of Imran and Jemima had arrived already and now they were calling for details of the flat Imran purchased decades ago in London.

He quipped even if they demanded the record of childhood Eid cards, that could also be produced but there was no chance of Imran’s disqualification.Fawad alleged Hanif Abbasi had filed a petition with documents attached, which were arranged by Akbar S Babar.

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