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December 15, 2018

Babus unwilling to work be sent packing: PM

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December 15, 2018

PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) health minister to send all those bureaucrats packing who were unwilling to pursue the agenda of the elected government.

The prime minister, who was on a day-long visit to Peshawar, was speaking at a function arranged to present the assessment and evaluation of the 100-day agenda of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

In his speech, he disclosed that in the past two health secretaries in the province in cahoots with the mafias were out to sabotage the agenda of previous government to reform the health sector.

The prime minister also directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ministers to attend their offices and show efficiency or else they would lose their cabinet positions.

He said he was addressing his first public meeting in Pakhtunkhwa as prime minister and wanted to thank its people who had voted for a new ‘vision’. “Peshawar would become a centre after the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the region and its connectivity to the Central Asia are completed,” he said.

Reiterating his party’s earnest desire to convert the historic Balahisar Fort into a tourist attraction, the prime minister said earlier he had no authority to do it, but now he would allot alternative land to the Frontier Corps (FC) to house its headquarters and Balahisar Fort would be converted into a tourists centre where small traditional restaurants and other facilities would be built. “We will make it a centre of the city and a spot for tourism,” he said. Responding to the briefing on the 100-day agenda by Finance Minister Taimoor Saleem Jhagra, the prime minister said the government would have to focus on governance to improve lives of the down-trodden and poverty-stricken segment of the society. The prime minister dilated upon the issues impeding streamlining of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), local governments, healthcare, the rule of law, education, environment and forestation.

He called on the finance and other ministries to work diligently to lure investment in the province by offering ease-of-doing-business in the province.

“People are keen on investing in Pakistan and we should expedite the business processes to facilitate them,” he added.

“Exxon is coming to Pakistan after 27 years for exploration and others also desire to invest here,” he claimed.

Speaking about the merger of Fata with KP, he acknowledged that it was an uphill task, adding there wasn’t any other option at all.

“We had a meeting today and decided that governor, chief minister, members of parliament from the former tribal areas and federal minister concerned would sit together to work out a roadmap for development in these areas,” he said.

“The government would implement it on emergency basis as there is no law and regulations in these areas because the interim transition system had been struck down by the High Court and the government would now move the Supreme Court to have an interim system for development of these newly-merged areas,” the prime minister explained.

He said the government was issuing health cards in the tribal districts so that people could avail healthcare facilities like other parts of the country.

About local government system in the province, the prime minister said they would bring in a new system with direct election of the tehsil nazims to put an end to the blackmail and corruption in funds.

In the health sector, he said the government was trying to bring the public sector healthcare on a par with the one provided by private sector hospitals.

The premier asked the Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to implement the amended Civil Procedure Code and dispose of civil cases in stipulated one-year time to improve rule of law in the province.

Imran said corruption was eating up public money, adding that among 210 million people only 72,000 declared their income above Rs2 lakh.

The prime heaped praise on Mahmood Khan as an honest and simple public leader and said he liked the chief minister for these traits.

The prime minister also defended his decision of selecting Sardar Usman Buzdar as the Punjab chief minister and said his rivals made fun of him but he proved himself as a brave and honest man and moved against the dreaded mafias in his province.

The prime minister also urged the provincial ministers to focus on their work and take it as their responsibility to improve governance.

Imran Khan in a lighter vein warned the ministers that they had three months to deliver.

“Don’t say then why your ministry was taken away. We don’t have any pressure like what he had in previous tenure. We feared that there would be defections if we changed the ministers, but this time there is no such issue,” he said with a smile.

The prime minster disclosed that he was receiving calls from many members of the provincial assembly who aspire to be ministers in place of the incumbents.