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PM Imran Khan vows not to bow to pressure over reforms

The prime minister said status quo has destroyed all the institutions

December 29, 2019

PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday his government was still facing resistance from the status quo elements in implementation of reforms in different sectors and vowed to stand out against the corrupt mafia.

"Let me assure you that we will resist all the corrupt mafias and elements of status quo, offering resistance to the reforms in different sectors," he said while addressing the 42nd annual winter meeting of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA) and Khyber Medical College Alumni Association (KMCAA) at the sprawling lawn of the Governor's House here. Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan and Tourism Minister Muhammad Atif Khan also attended the function.

The prime minister said status quo has destroyed all the institutions. However, he added, his party came to power to bring about reforms in all sectors as the country could not make progress without bringing changes in all sectors. He said he believed in power of the masses and he believed that people of Pakistan would win the battle against the corrupt and the status quo elements.

Earlier, the prime minister chaired the cabinet meeting in the Governor's House and then held a meeting with representatives of AAPNA. It was after a break of 15 years that APPNA meeting was held in the city. The last APPNA winter meeting was held in Peshawar in 2004 and the then president, Gen Pervez Musharraf, had inaugurated the meeting. Imran Khan appreciated the efforts being made by AAPNA in different sectors and said he was happy to see the doctors regularly visiting their country. He explained in detail how they faced resistance from health workers when they first launched health reforms in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2015.

The prime minister pledged that the governmentgovernment would never go back on its reforms. Besides health and education, the prime minister said they had been facing similar resistance from elements working in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and traders doing business of smuggled goods.

“The problem is whenever you bring about reforms and make changes to the old system, they will create wrong impressions among the people. They are not willing to come under tax net,” said the prime minister.

In KP, he said, those opposed to health reforms started propaganda and misled people that the government was privatising the government hospitals.“Our agenda is to bring the state-run hospitals to the level of standard private medical institutions. And it is not an impossible task,” he added.

Imran Khan said that no doubt the outgoing year proved very difficult for them due to a host of issues, but asked people not to panic, saying they would overcome the challenges and defeat the corrupt mafias. “The change against corrupt system and status quo would come at any cost,” Imran Khan pledged.

He recalled that Pakistan in the 1960s had been a leading country in the region, but it lagged behind due to corrupt system and status quo. “Today even Bangladesh is better than us economically. Turkey and Malaysia had similar issues that we are facing today. It was because of their reforms that helped them come out of crises,” the prime minister told doctors. He said he had a long association with overseas Pakistanis and praised their concerns for their country and its people.

“When I planned to build the cancer hospital in Pakistan for offering free cancer treatment, I held several meetings with people and all of them told me it was not possible. People and particularly the overseas generously donated for Shaukat Khanum when they saw the system there,” he added. He said AAPNA was the most effective overseas group in the US and had great contributions there.

“You had great services for this country and I would like to request you to effectively play your role in countering the Indian lobby against Pakistan there,” he appealed to AAPNA. He said the Indian lobby was very strong in the US and urged AAPNA to strengthen the Pakistan lobby in that country also. “I don’t think that in the past someone realised the efficacy of AAPNA and its significance in the US,” he added.

He said the Indian government had committed the worst atrocities against the eight million Kashmiris in the past five months.

Earlier, the US-based Pakistani cardiologist, Dr Arshad Rehan, welcomed the prime minister and thanked him on behalf of AAPNA and said the meeting was being held in Peshawar after a gap of almost fifteen years.

“This long hiatus occurred due to the security situation in Peshawar and the KP at large. The war was won only with immense sacrifices and as we sit here, we as APPNA, remember those sacrifices,” said Dr Arshad Rehan, who reportedly played a key role in bringing the AAPNA meeting to Peshawar.

On his request, a moment of silence was observed in respect of those who lost their lives in acts of sabotage. “This APPNA family that is sitting in front of you is second to none in its love for the motherland. They may live abroad but their hearts beat in unison with the rest of Pakistan,” said Dr Rehan.

Referring to Iman Khan, he said “you played most of your cricket in England and no one knew better than you that the most fervent supporters of Pakistani team in the English grounds are not the first-generation expat Pakistanis, but their second, third and fourth generations.

“They may not speak Urdu, may not have a NICOP, may never even have visited Pakistan, but they take pride in being of Pakistani origin,” he said. He said they could rightfully boast of being the country’s best ambassadors anywhere in the world.

“And from contributing to the congressional defeat of Larry Pressler, author of the infamous Pressler amendment in the 1990s, to supporting aid bills for Pakistan, to exposing Indian oppression in occupied Kashmir, Pakistani Physicians of North America, regardless of their political ideologies or beliefs are at the front line,” he added.

“Borrowing a line from Dr Amjad Hussain, founding President of KMCAANA, we overseas Pakistanis do not have infinite resources, but we do have infinite love for Pakistan! If not more, certainly no less than any resident Pakistani,” the former president of AAPNA explained.

Desk news adds: Prime Minister Imran Khan said India might carry out a false flag operation in Azad Kashmir to divert the world attention from the atrocities its forces were committing in occupied Kashmir and internal protests over anti-Muslim laws.

Narendra Modi is following the ideology of Hitler in India. The BJP is enforcing its ideology on the pattern of RSS, he said adding that India was being criticised for the first time by international human rights organisations. He pointed out that citizens of India had been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill and now there was no way back.

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