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January 4, 2020

PM has discretion to extend army chief’s tenure: Imran Khan

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January 4, 2020

ISLAMABAD/FAISALABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday chaired a parliamentary party meeting regarding the Army Act Amendment Bill 2020 and said the premier had the discretion to extend the army chief’s tenure.

He said the Supreme Court gave its verdict on the issue of the army chief’s term and the government accepted it completely. The premier said bureaucracy and business community had reservations about the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) powers, and their fears had been hampering national development.

Imran said the NAB Ordinance 2019 had been introduced in the national interest and the government committee was holding consultations with the opposition parties on the matter.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, Special Assistant to PM on Political Affairs Naeemul Haque, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Amir Mahmood Kiyani, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul and other.

Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan briefed the attendees on the Army Act Amendment Bill 2020 and the NAB Ordinance 2019. Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak and State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan apprised the party leaders of meetings with the opposition parties.

Prime Minister Imran Khan told the meeting that stability was imperative for improving national economy and progress and development of Pakistan, hoping that all parties would show unity on the matter of national security.

Later on, the premier told the participants in a ceremony in Faisalabad that the recent amendments to the NAB law were made solely to rid the bureaucracy of the fear of action over procedural issues. While laying the foundation-stone of the M-4 Economic Zone at the Allama Iqbal Industrial Estate here, he said now the bureaucracy had no excuse to avoid role in timely completion of development projects in the province.

While addressing Chief Secretary Azam Suleman Khan, he said: "They were afraid to sign files earlier; but that will not be an excuse anymore. “We hope that work on development schemes will progress at a fast pace now."

The premier hoped that setting up of special economic zones (SEZs) and massive industrialisation in the country would help boost the country’s economy and create a large number of job opportunities for the people. Spread on 3,200 acres of land, the economic zone is being constructed by the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) near Sahianwala Interchange, with the help of Punjab government. The PM said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was focusing its attention on boosting industrialisation in the country, especially establishment of export-oriented units, to help earn direly needed foreign exchange for the country.

He said after industrialisation, the government would take steps to increase agricultural productivity. Pakistan has vast fertile lands which could help boost our agriculture production, he added.

The PM said Pakistan had the third biggest forum for activating the tourism industry. He said a couple of decades ago, Pakistan was undergoing rapid industrialisation, but unfortunately we were following a mindset that the capitalists and moneyed people were all profiteers. This attitude prompted our capitalists and landlords to shrink their investments, which resulted in unemployment in the country. The PM said he was trying his bets to convert Pakistan into a welfare state on the pattern of Riasat-e-Madina to end poverty and unemployment in the country.

Referring to his recent visit to China, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he thoroughly examined the role models of the Chinese government and found that top industrialists and capitalists of China, who were running a chain of industries there, had evinced keen interest to set up their industrial units in Pakistan, especially in the special economic zones being set up in Faisalabad and other parts of the country under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He said the establishment of CPEC was a golden chance for Pakistan to export its products to European and Western countries by utilising this land route.

Prime Minister lauded the efforts of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and Inspector General of Police Punjab Shoaib Dastgir in effectively running administrative and security affairs of the province. He also appreciated the efforts of Punjab Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal over his excellent performance. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, in his brief speech, apprised Prime Minister Imran Khan about the efficacy of the Punjab government. He said the Punjab government provided a financial assistance of Rs5 billion and 3,200 acres of state land for establishment of the economic zone.

He said the provincial government was establishing 10 Industrial Estates in Rahim Yar Khan, Vehari, Muzaffargarh, Wazirabad and other cities where Special Economic Zones would be established under a phased program besides the setting up of three technical universities in the province.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan also inaugurated a shelter-home at Faisalabad bus terminal. He, accompanied by Federal Minister Asad Umar, also took lunch with the dwellers of the shelter home.

Meanwhile, sharing a video of Indian police pogrom against Muslims, Prime Minister Imran Khan questioned that for how long the world would remain silent over fascist and extremist Modi regime’s state terrorism. He regretted that the Indian police were attacking Muslims as part of the Modi government ethnic cleansing.