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August 19, 2019

Govt’s first year performance report: Foundation of stability laid, says Firdous

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August 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that the journey from 18th August, 2018 to 18th August, 2019 is journey of stability of Pakistan.

While highlighting the first year performance report of PTI government, she assured that the journey from today to 2020 will be the journey of construction of Pakistan. The special assistant said the government in a short period of one year corrected the course through strong foundations, hard work and honesty.

The government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) released its first year’s performance report, consisting of 82 pages, showcasing what it called its achievements. Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan released the report here at a special ceremony, attended by some of prime minister’s cabinet members. She emphasised that the government believed in complete freedom of press and right to freedom of expression and speech.

At the start of her speech, Dr Awan said that the day would be dedicated to the people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and explained that Prime Minister Imran Khan was to address the nation on August 18 but it was postponed for the government was focused on Kashmir-related developments. She said, “In the interest of the greater cause of Kashmir, we have put aside our political engagements and decided to take the national narrative forward”. She claimed that the greatest achievement of the government in the past year was thatthe government believed in the right of freedom of expression and speech.

Dr Awan emphasised that Prime Minister Imran Khan had never tried to curb the media at any level or at any forum, whether at the party level or government level. She said that the government with hard work and dedication introduced policies in the right direction and the fruits of the same would bring about prosperity and progress of the masses. She emphasised that in the Naya Pakistan, not the ruling of elite, but public interests would be safeguarded.

According to the report, since the inception of the PTI government, as many as 52 meetings of the federal cabinet were held and in all 960 decisions taken, out of which 784 (82pc) were implemented. Likewise, a total of 42 meetings of the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet were also held.

About the Ministry of Defence, it says that Pakistan had successfully turned the tide against terrorism and there was no presence of any terrorist organisation in the country. The armed forces of Pakistan while being in the forefront fought back against the vexing threat of terrorism under an adaptive campaign plan.

The countrywide counter-terrorism campaign under the banner of Operation Raadul Fasad resulted in clearance of approximately 46,778 square kilometers, elimination of 17,779 terrorists and recovery of large number of arms and explosives.

The nation owes this to the unprecedented human sacrifices of 82,400 nationwide casualties, including 26,770 military casualties. Moreover, in the aftermath of Pulwama, the armed forces have successfully preserved the sovereignty and integrity of the country and remained committed to this sacred task, especially as a result of the recent Indian step of unilaterally abolishing the special status of Indian Held Kashmir. “The government in a period of one year has corrected the course through strong foundations, hard work and honesty and brought about stability,” she pointed out. She said that the next year will be of progress and prosperity.

Dr Awan noted the Prime Minister Imran Khan had achieved a historic electoral success after a political struggle of 22 years and his vision was to transform Pakistan on the principles of State of Medina with characteristics of merit, justice, rule of law, social welfare and austerity. "Under this vision, reforms are being introduced in all government ministries and institutions and the prime minister is personally supervising the reforms agenda of the government," Dr. Awan said.

She said that a noticeable improvement had been made in postal services, NHA, railways and many other government departments while the Postal Services and NHA had been made profit-earning entities. She said that in the coming week, one ministry would be answerable before the media daily. The performance report says that the government had successfully negotiated an IMF programme while it was taking a number of measures to further stabilise the national economy. It noted that the reforms under way in the Federal Bureau of Revenue were showing promising results.

It said the taxes collection during July this year was Rs234 billion against the set target of Rs236 billion, which is 99.2 per cent of it. Likewise, the collection of domestic taxes in July showed an increase of 60 percent as compared to collections of July last year.

The filing of returns income tax for 2018 had reached 2,404,371 as compared to 1,486,756, showing growth of 62 per cent over the last year.

About the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, it says that rationalisation of advertisement rates of electronic media (60 percent reduction from previously enforced rates) was carried out.

Earlier, Dr Awan highlighted the Ehsas welfare programme as one of the achievements of the PTI government and said the Ehsas programme was close to the prime minister’s heart for he believed that a society cannot change until people understand each other's situations.

Ehsas is an ambitious social safety and poverty alleviation programme for the welfare of the public that was launched by Prime Minister Imran in March this year.

Firdous says an interim wage board for journalists was announced and soon permanent award would be announced. She said the prime minister had directed for clearance of dues of media houses on account of advertisements.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to PM on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq said Pakistan was passing through a turning point in history in the backdrop of evolving Kashmir situation.

Referring to domestic situation, he said when the government assumed power the economic situation was in critical shape. He added the government received an empty treasury and was not even in a position to run its day to day affairs. He continued Pakistan sought friendly countries' help as well as taking austerity measures and a number of steps to ameliorate the economic situation. He said the government also launched big projects like provision of housing for people of lower income backgrounds.

Haq said development budget had been enhanced from Rs500 billion to Rs900 billion while as many as 114 schemes had been started under Ehsas programme to help poor people stand on their own feet.

While, citing achievements of the PTI government during the first year of its tenure, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Media Iftikhar Durrani has said that the government has managed to decrease current account deficit and trade deficit, made saving through its austerity drive, introduced flagship programmes in social sector and restored the lost dignity of Pakistani leadership.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, he said: “I would like to begin with the meticulous measure taken to reduce and shrink the current account deficit by 30 per cent along with catering to public debt servicing to $ 9.886 billion.” He said the government had taken bold steps to revive industry and decreased the overall trade deficit by 14pc, averting default threat.

“We wanted to bring all people under same umbrella of growth, equal opportunity and sustainability; so with the most harmonious way we structured the merger of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Durrani said.

Strongly reacting to completion of one year of PTI in government, opposition leaders said that past year was a nightmare which showed nothing good for the masses. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Sunday said the illegitimate and incompetent government proudly presented its report of failures on Sunday.

“Today Imran Khan is forming an inquiry commission to inquire the unprecedented 7.6 trillion increase in debt over last one year due to his incompetence,” Aurangzeb said on Twitter. She added, “The federal government debt stock rose from Rs24.2 trillion as on 3-6-2018 to Rs31.8 trillion as on 30-6-2019, showing an increase of a staggering Rs7.6 trillion or 31 percent.”

“At a GDP of 38.6 trillion, this comes as 82.4 per cent of GDP. This is an unprecedented increase in a single year. It is necessary, therefore, to examine the causes that have led to such an increase,” the PML-N leader added.

Criticising the government, Aurangzeb said, the domestic debt increased from Rs16.4 trillion to Rs20.7 trillion showing an increase of Rs4.3 trillion. “External debt rose from Rs7.8 trillion to Rs11.1 trillion, showing an increase of Rs3.3 trillion or 42 per cent,” she tweeted. ‘Selected PM’ will break all the record of lies, she added.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that PTI has done nothing good in this one year that should be remembered. Federation doesn’t allow provinces to do their work, he continued.