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February 16, 2020

Nobody could imagine now, how great Pakistan is going to be: PM Imran Khan

Top Story

February 16, 2020

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his optimism to turn Pakistan into a great country in the coming years.

Addressing the Insaf health cards distribution ceremony at Governor’s House here on Saturday, he said nobody could imagine at the moment how a great country Pakistan was going to emerge in the coming days. In the upcoming months and years, it would change into a great country and foreigners would come here to seek jobs, he added. “The biggest hurdle in the way to progress is the mafia and I will defeat them,” he expressed his resolve before a charged crowd of PTI workers present at the ceremony. He said his government was gathering information about those who caused sugar and flour crises by increasing their prices artificially. The premier pledged that all those making money by creating crises in the country would not be spares at all. He said an effective demand and supply system was being evolved in the country and no such crises would occur on the future.

The prime minister said he had restored the respect of the green passport to a great extent. However, the premier admitted that sugar and wheat flour crises were caused due to his government’s incompetence. He said, “we are gathering information about those involved in the crises, and we will never spare them.” The premier assured people that with the grace of Allah Almighty, Pakistan would become a great Islamic welfare state.

Imran spent a busy day in the provincial metropolis as he first inaugurated a Police Service Centre and the Safe Cities Authority’s office. Later, he held meetings with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar. Afterward, he presided over a ceremony held for distribution of Insaf health cards among deserving families of Lahore, Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin, at the Governor’s House.

Addressing the ceremony, the prime minister said so far five million Insaf health cards were distributed in Punjab, which completed the provision of the facility all over the province, and paid tributes to Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid for achieving the target. The premier assured people that he would make them see that all his dreams were realised. He denied that he had ever announced making Pakistan Asian Tiger. “I had said I will make Pakistan a welfare state on the pattern of Madina state,” he said, adding that he learnt of the welfare states and its working during his days in England where the government provided medical, social welfare and legal aid to the masses.

He said he believed his party was the only party that won elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) twice and the two-thirds majority was given to it by the people there as they were provided health insurance cards. He said people of KP came to know for the first time about a welfare state. He reiterated that his government inherited the huge deficits left by the previous regimes where exports were only $20 billion against the imports of over $60 billion, thus leaving a trade deficit of $40 billion. He said prices of pulses and ghee went up because of being imported, adding that devaluation of rupee also increased prices of imported items. Admitting the fault of his government, he said the government was evolving a mechanism so that such situations did not arise in the future.

Imran Khan also criticised the media, accusing it of maligning his government over price-hike and inflation, making negative propaganda under a plan. He said certain channels put mic before poor people asking them about their problems due to price hike and then asking them ‘Where’s the Naya Pakistan’, promised by the government. Through such actions, they incite the poor people to curse the government. He said his government would bring the weak and down-trodden classes to upper sections of society. He said the government was bringing about reforms in the health sector, and making administrative changes in hospitals was a move to provide the best healthcare facilities to people. But it was regrettable that the media was making propaganda against the autonomy of hospitals too, he said, adding that certain elements were against the autonomy of hospitals.

He said the government’s commitment to revolutionise the health sector was proved by the decision to waive off Customs Duty on import of medical equipment. The duty-free import of medical equipment would force hospitals to provide better health facilities to people, he said, adding that more incentives would be given to the private sector to establish hospitals as the government alone could not take care of entire healthcare in the country. He said 4.8 million families out of a total of 7.2 million in the province have been provided health cards that allow a family to spend up to Rs720,000 annually on medical treatment. He said that the provision of Insaf Health Cards to 7.2 million families in Punjab was a step towards emulating the ideal state of Madina, established by the last Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The PM said the illness was a catastrophe for a poor family and Insaf Health Cards would provide relief to the common man to overcome this burden. He said the distribution of free health cards in Punjab was a step towards making Pakistan a welfare state. He said the government would give autonomy to the state-run hospitals to enhance their performance. “My idea of a welfare state is based on humanity and the acceptance of responsibility by the government to help the destitute in the hour of need,” Imran Khan added. He said the plight of a poor cancer patient and his family motivated him to set up Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital after retirement from cricket, adding that he decided to spend life for those who were ignored by the state. Imran Khan said, “The State of Madina was not created in a day and it took time before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) founded an Islamic welfare society”.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said the Insaf Health Cards services had started in all 36 districts of Punjab and the poor people were benefiting from Prime Minister’s vision for free health facilities to all and sundry. She also thanked Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Khan Buzdar for his support. Yasmin Rashid said that Insaf Health Cards facility had been provided to all districts in the province within one year, adding that the distribution of cards had started in Rajanpur on February 24 last year. She said the government had spent Rs14 billion on the project, adding that 4.8 million cards had been distributed while cards were also given to 70,000 disabled persons as well. She said the cardholders could get treatment from the designated hospitals for heart, kidney, and other ailments. She said 28,000 new jobs had been given in the health department through the Punjab Public Service Commission. She said the distribution of the rest of the cards in Lahore district would complete by the end of March this year.

Chief Minister Sardar Usman Khan Buzdar said the journey, which started from Rajanpur, had come to fruition with the distribution of health cards in Lahore, Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin districts. He said 139,000 Insaf Health cards had been distributed among the deserving families in Gujrat, 46,300 in Mandi Bahauddin and 511,000 health cards in Lahore. He said the health cards would provide free health facilities to the people from all sections of society. He said two new hospitals including Punjab Institute of Blood Diseases and Bone-marrow Transplant Centre and Punjab Institute of Cardiology-II would be built in Lahore, adding that no new hospitals were established in Lahore during the last 30 years. He said Children’s Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospitals were also being upgraded, adding that a state-of-the-art Emergency Centre would be established in the Services Hospital Lahore.

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, provincial ministers Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed, Fayazul Hassan Chohan, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Ijaz Alam Augustine, President PTI Punjab Ijaz Chaudhry, PTI leadership, Chief Secretary Punjab, government functionaries, lawyers, journalist and a large number of PTI office-bearers and party workers attended the Insaf Health Card ceremony.

Separately, Governor Ch Mohammad Sarwar called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday and discussed matters of the province and political issues.

The governor briefed the PM about Governor’s House Business Plan, projects of Punjab Aab-e- Pak authority and opening of Governor’s House for the public for two days a week. The governor assured PM Imran Khan that Punjab Aab-e-Pak authority would provide safe drinking water to 20 million people by June 2020.

He said water plants were also being installed in Lahore and the entire Punjab with the consultation of public representatives. Governor’s House is being opened for Public even on Saturday. “As per the business plan, the corporate sector is being allowed to hold their events in Governor’s House,” he added.