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April 27, 2021

Kisan Cards launched in Punjab

Top Story

April 27, 2021

MULTAN: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday laid down the foundation stone of the much-awaited South Punjab Secretariat at a ceremony held at the Multan Circuit House.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, he criticized the former ruling elite and said they had been doing politics in Pakistan and making investment abroad. Laws have been different for them as they frequently indulged in corruption, deals and NROs. Now the law of the land is applicable to them.

“They are living in deluxe houses abroad, which they had purchased through money laundering. These people are living in posh areas of London where even a British minister cannot afford purchasing property,” the premier said. Criticizing the Takht-e-Lahore led by the former ruling elite, he said they adopted discriminatory policies towards South Punjab, particularly former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif played a key role in depriving the most-neglected region of development. The PM said he entered politics after witnessing that a small segment, the ruling elite, is enjoying all powers and impunity.

He said the establishment of the South Punjab Secretariat would open windows of development in the region and allocated funds for the region will be spent on South Punjab. He said the region consists of 33pc population of the Punjab province, but the past governments allocated only 17pc of the total budget for it. He said due to re-allocation of these uplift funds, about Rs 260 billion losses were incurred due to the policies of the previous rulers of the province. He said the government has decided that South Punjab would get its due job quota according to its size and population.

Speaking about the deprivation and poverty of South Punjab, the prime minister said he brought Chief Minister Usman Buzdar so that he could implement his vision in the area. He wanted a person who preferred to live and die in Pakistan and understood the sufferings of the common man and did not go to London on sojourns. He said the royal family of Lahore spent money only on the development of those areas of Lahore where they lived, whereas his government focused on the development of merged tribal areas, interior Sindh and other backward areas of the country.

He said the Punjab chief minister has been striving to ensure health insurance to all residents of the province by the end of this year. Today they launched a Kisan Card in Punjab and it is for the first time that anyone thought of small farmers. He said a UNDP report indicated that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government spent hugely on human development, which helped reduce poverty and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

The prime minister drawing a parallel between the performance of Usman Buzdar and Shahbaz Sharif pointed out that a Bollywood actor (Shahbaz Sharif) while donning a hat and wearing boots got himself snapped only for personal projection.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Usman Buzdar, Khusro Bakhtiar, Fakhar-e-Imam, Zartaj Gul and other provincial ministers attended the ceremony.

Later, speaking at the Kisan Cards distribution ceremony at the Multan Sports Ground, the prime minister vowed to uplift the agriculture sector, boost the economy of farmers and transform agriculture into a modern era. He said the prime objective of launching Kisan cards is strengthening farmers financially to get subsidies on agriculture inputs and agriculture loans through electronic process to end corruption and farmers' exploitation. Appreciating the performance of the Punjab government, he paid tribute to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on completing the task of introducing Kisan Cards in the shortest period of six months. He said the launching of Kisan Cards would lead to modern transformation of agriculture. He said the introduction of electronic Kisan Cards would change the life of farmers at the grassroots level. Farmers are the backbone of the country and strengthening farmers means strengthening Pakistan. He said the PTI government has boosted farm communities and farmers have earned Rs 1,100 billion due to increasing prices of wheat, maize and pulses in the last two years.

He said the government has given a Rs 300 billion package for agriculture transformation. Water for agriculture is a big problem and the government is constructing two new dams for the first time in the last 50 years. Besides that, small dams are being constructed to overcome water scarcity for agriculture. Pakistan has an ideal weather with available temperatures between 15 degrees to 38 degrees which are highly suitable for agriculture. He said the country would cultivate Ispaghol, edible oil and other oilseed crops to end dependency on imports. He said the government has planned handing over the agriculture extension wing to the private sector.

He said the government has allocated Rs 40 billion for the uplift of livestock sector to increase milk production three times and prevent milk import. He said the country can earn $25 billion by exporting milk and cheese in the next three years. He said fruits and vegetables are facing 50pc losses and grain 20pc. The government is developing storage capacity to preserve fruits and vegetables.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Usman Buzdar said the prime minister had assigned the task of launching Kisan Cards in February in the next six months but the Punjab government completed the task in three months. He said the Punjab government has introduced agriculture reforms and launched Kisan Cards as a pilot project in Multan. He said 30,000 shops have been established across the province to use Kisan Cards. The government is giving a Rs 117 billion subsidy to farmers through Kisan Cards. He said 8,000 land record centres are being established in the province.

Earlier, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Commissioner Javed Mehmood, RPO Khuram Ali Shah, CPO Dr Muneer Ahmed Marth, the deputy commissioner and other officials received the PM at the Multan International Airport on his arrival. Fourteen vehicles were part of the PM cavalcade.

Earlier, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the South Punjab Secretariat, Usman Buzdar said it is a historic day in the history as the foundation stone of the South Punjab Secretariat has been laid and the longstanding demand of people has been met. The foundation stone of South Punjab Secretariat will also be laid in Bahawalpur soon. He said South Punjab has not only been kept backward in the past but was also deceived with misleading statistics. He said more than 27,000 schools of Punjab have been upgraded including 38pc of schools in South Punjab.

He said the Punjab government has brought a district development package of Rs 34 billion for Multan. Under the package, 100 development projects will be completed.

Work has started on most of the projects and they will be completed as soon as possible. He said development projects worth Rs 787.2 million would be completed in Multan under the Local Government Development Programme.