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February 20, 2021

After facing defeat everywhere Opposition eyeing Senate: PM

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February 20, 2021

HAZRO: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said Pakistan with the grace of Allah Almighty would ultimately be the winner as the corrupt politicians had lost public support. “This is a decisive moment for the nation. The masses are on one side, while these thieves and dacoits are on the other,” he maintained.

“Insha Allah Pakistan will emerge victorious,” Imran Khan said while addressing a function after the inauguration of tree plantation drive in Ghazi Barotha under his initiative of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami.

Criticising the previous governments, the prime minister said during the last 30 years, big thieves and corrupt politicians had not only hurt the country economically through their loot and plunder of the public resources but destroyed the moral values as well.

“They created an impression that corruption is not a bad thing,” he noted. He questioned if anybody could cite an example of any country, which had achieved progress and development in an atmosphere of corruption. The prime minister said the country was not affected much due to the corruption of ‘Patwaris’, ‘Thanedars' or other government functionaries but corrupt prime ministers or ministers hurt it badly.

Special Assistant to the PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul, Special Assistant to the PM Shahbaz Gill and Senator Faisal Javed were also present, besides a number of youth and notables from the area.

Imran Khan said when a prime minister stole the public money, he would stash it abroad through money laundering. “Stealing public money causes one loss to the country and the money laundering causes another big one,” he remarked.

“When prime ministers steal the public money, their children own palaces abroad and (corrupt) ministers also hold Iqamas (residence permits) of other countries, throwing their own country into a debt trap,” he added.

The prime minister said when a country was burdened with debt, it had to seek foreign assistance by compromising its respect and dignity. "While those (rulers) hurt the country, they and their children, sons-in-law and brothers-in-law lead aristocratic lives abroad,” he commented.

“When I see Ishaq Dar and Nawaz Sharif riding a Rolls Royce in London, it appears that they were not born in Gwalmandi but in London,” Imran Khan remarked. About the Senate polls, the prime minister said with a market established across the country for the sale and purchase of the members of Parliament, corrupt practices had been going on for the senators' election for the last 30 years.

He was critical of the opposition parties for opposing the government’s efforts for holding Senate elections through open ballot, saying those, who were in favour of the open ballot process for Senate polls in the past, were now opposing the idea.

The opposition parties, he said, had a change of mind after their failure at the Minar-e-Pakistan rally, during FATF (Financial Action Task Force) legislation and in other moves. “Now they want to get more seats in the Senate by purchasing our members. What kind of democracy is it.” he questioned.

The prime minister recalled that in 2018, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) despite having only six members in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly secured two Senate seats.

Imran Khan said the tree plantation was a must to protect the future generations as Pakistan was among the ten countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

He linked the development of 10 cricket grounds along the water channel in the area with the youth's involvement in the protection of plants, saying the plantation would be carried out on the grounds otherwise.

The plantation, he added, is essential for the country’s future and the cricket grounds for the youth’s health. He said the tree plantation is the only solution to overcome the growing heat due to emission of greenhouse gases.

The prime minister regretted that instead of enhancing the forest cover during last 70 years, the existing forests in Changa Manga, Kundian amd Chichawatni vanished due to massive deforestation.

He said Lahore is facing immense smog owing to 70 percent reduction of green cover, which was highly dangerous for children and elders. The threat would increase unless the nation collectively decides to reverse the wrongdoings of the past, he added.

Responding to Amin Aslam’s request for universal health coverage for the people of Attock, the prime minister said like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, whole of Punjab population would get health insurance of Rs1 million by the end of current year.

Calling it a matter of pride, he said even the developed countries could not yet provide the universal health coverage as had been provided in the KP. Before assuming premiership, he had dreamt to extend the health insurance facility to all the households in the country, he added.

The prime minister also agreed to the development of a technology zone in Kamra, saying the sector could easily create jobs. Calling it a government’s policy, Imran Khan also endorsed Malik Amin’s demand for quota of jobs in ordnance industries in the area and supply of gas to the locals on priority.

Amin Aslam, while speaking on the occasion, said the prime minister's 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative was recognised globally. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in the KP had not only achieved the target of a billion trees but also saved Rs8 billion of the project cost, he added.

Accepting the Bonn Challenge, he said, the KP government had made plantation over 350,000 hectares. He said the government was also about to get the third party audit of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative.

One million trees would be planted across the 50 kilometer stretch of water channel, he added. The SAPM also thanked the prime minister for approving various development projects for Attock like a campus of Allama Iqbal Open University, a mother and childcare hospital, and gas supply to 35 villages.

Earlier, the prime minister unveiled the plaque of the project, which would mark the plantation of around 1.143 million trees along the water channel of Ghazi Barotha Power Project. It would cost Rs147.1 million and take around 36 months to complete.

The indigenous species, including Shisham, Bakain, Phulai, Siris and the fruit plants including guava, loquat, citrus and fig would be planted. Moreover, 10 cricket grounds would also be developed in the area along the water channel.

SAPM Amin Aslam briefed the prime minister on the projects and their significance for environmental conservation and promotion of sports. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the present government was committed to the promotion of agriculture sector, and was taking measures to address the problems of growers and ensure fair return of their produce.

He expressed these views during a frank interaction with farmers of Hazro, Attock, where he inaugurated the tree plantation drive under his internationally recognised 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Initiative.

The prime minister gave a patient hearing to the farmers’ views and suggestions regarding the resolution of their problems in the areas of seeds, pesticides, electricity and low prices of their produce.

Imran Khan said the government was working on a full-fledged programme to check the existing unreasonable difference of prices of various agricultural commodities and food items at the growers and market levels.

He said the government was fully striving to ensure that the growers get fair return of their produce.

The prime minister also mentioned that the government keeping the difficulties of masses including the farmers did not enhance the prices of petroleum products during the current fortnight. About the electricity tariff, he said the government was also working on the promotion of solar energy in the agriculture sector, as it was much economical.

The prime minister said the promotion of agriculture sector and checking price-hike were the foremost priorities of the present government. Easy credit would also be offered to the farmers, he added.