LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday threw his weight behind Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar once again, saying he was a thorough gentleman, carrying out his job silently and achieving his targets.
Talking to the media at 8-Club Road after chairing different meetings here, he said the chief minister did not believe in self-promotion; he was saving national money and performing his work diligently. The premier said Usman Buzdar was not going anywhere; mafias were after him and he needed (the media) projection for continuing his good job. He said those fearing closure of their illegal businesses, (political) shops and detection of their ill-gotten money were all-out to prove the CM a failure. PM’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and ministers were also present.
Responding to a question about reshuffle in bureaucracy, Imran said he and the Punjab CM thoroughly deliberated and picked the best team of bureaucrats in the province. He said since the PTI came to power, the corrupt mafias had been busy in building a narrative that the government had proved a failure.
The premier also announced that Pakistan would import Euro-4 technology to curb smog and control environmental pollution. He claimed that the technology would reduce the level of pollution by 90 per cent. By 2020, he said the plan would be shifted to import of Euro-5 technology. He said that a plan to run hybrid and electric buses was also under consideration.
Moreover, the premier added, the government had conveyed to the oil refineries to ensure quality of petroleum products; otherwise they would be shut down.
Imran Khan claimed that the troubled phase of the country was over now. He said fight was under way against the mafia that had been misleading the nation regarding the performance of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
The PM said environmental pollution had caused very hazardous effects on people’s health in the last some years and regretted that no efforts were made to address the issue. He said that not much attention was paid to the issue of smog due to which it became a serious problem, adding that lack of tree plantation in Lahore had also given rise to pollution. He said that smog had been very damaging for lungs of children and elderly people in particular.
Similarly, the burning of crops in India also added to environmental hazards whereas the smoke released by cars, buses also added to it, he said. Imran Khan said he had a detailed meeting with his team to overcome the problems which were affecting the health of people.
The PM, who addressed the media persons of Lahore after a gap of around 13 months, said that forestation would be done over an area of 60,000 kanals of land in Lahore to ensure a healthy environment. He said that during the last 10 years, 70 per cent of trees were cut down due to which environmental challenges increased.
He said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, along with his cronies, had come to Islamabad, raising different slogans and making propaganda against the government without knowing what they actually wanted. He said the Maulana came to Islamabad to conquer the federal capital through a sit-in. Referring to the Maulana sarcastically, he said he himself had been eating Halwa for the last 30 years.
Imran said the PTI was fighting against the mafias which had always misled the nation. He said the country was coming out of the troubled phase now, as growth rate was going up and more investment was coming in. The PM admitted that inflation and other challenges existed in the country, but promised that these issues would be addressed in the coming days.
To a query about criticism of the government legal team on the issue of extension to army chief, the PM said the Supreme Court did not find any fault with the government’s legal team on the issue. However, he added the matter had been settled now and it was not appropriate to comment on it anymore.
To another question, he said so far he had not seen the names proposed by the opposition leader, Shahbaz Sharif, for appointment of the chief election commissioner.
About the health situation of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Imran said under the court ruling, the report about his health had to be shared with the government after every two weeks, adding that nothing would be kept hidden over the issue.
Desk news/agencies add: Prime Minister Imran Khan said the bureaucracy had an important role in economic development of the country. During a daylong visit to Lahore, he was chairing a meeting of provincial bureaucracy and senior police officers. He directed the bureaucracy to work on merit and fulfil its responsibilities of serving masses. He called upon the officers not to do any illegal works of politicians, as the PTI government would never exert any pressure on them for any illegal tasks. About improvement in economy, the PM said a capable bureaucracy had an important role in economic development of the country. “Appointments to bureaucracy and other posts have been made on merit,” the PM said. He said the PTI government had appointed the best Inspector General of Police (IGP) in the province to improve governance. “The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has freed officers from any political interference,” he claimed.
PM Imran said future of Punjab was bright, but it needs more improvement in its governance system. He said national economy was gradually stabilising as a result of the government initiatives. “We have to change the old mindset in Naya Pakistan, as the old system can no longer work.” He added that efforts should be expedited to bring improvement in the lives of poor people.
He was addressing a ceremony of Service Level Agreement between Punjab Lang Record Authority and major private commercial banks for rapid agri loans in Lahore.
The PM said the government had to pay $10 billion in debt repayment in its first year, which brought rupee under pressure, resulting in its devaluation and subsequent inflation. The premier admitted that the nation was facing hardships and the biggest issue for them was price-hike. However, he added, government’s economic team performed very well, though the opposition was not comprehending the situation. He said now rupee was gaining and business confidence was improving. He said stock market was also showing positive signs. He said the government’s economic initiatives were aimed at uplifting the downtrodden and reducing disparity between the rich and the poor.
Appreciating the scheme of loan provision to small farmers, Imran said 95 per cent farmers were in dire need of credit and the initiative would bring a revolution to their lives. He said the agreement would benefit the farmers and the agriculture sector which would improve overall economy of the country.
The PM said the Police Department enjoyed legal authority, but the power should only be used to serve masses and bring about improvement in lives of people.
Imran Khan also asked CM Usman Buzdar to improve law and order situation in the province. The two officials also held consultations regarding the administrative changes in Punjab.
The PM said the government was spending about Rs200 billion for welfare of the poor under Ehsaas programme. He said different schemes and initiatives were being introduced under the umbrella of Ehsaas programme including interest-free loans to the youth and financial assistance to the needy.
He said an accurate database was being prepared so that no deserving was left unattended. He said today exchange rate is not volatile and foreign exchange reserves were increasing. International financial institutions were appreciating the steps taken by the Pakistan government.
KHARTOUM: Sudan’s top general declared a state of emergency, dissolved the government leading country’s democratic...
SHARJAH: Spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman took five wickets in Afghanistan’s record 130-run rout of Scotland in their...
KARACHI: In view of the continuous depreciation of the Pakistani rupee and soaring oil prices, petrol is likely to...
BEIJING: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with Taliban representatives during a trip this week to Qatar, an...
SUKKUR: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has announced protests in all districts of the country on October 29,...
RAWALPINDI: Wendy Gilmour, Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan, called on COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ...