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Opposition won’t be able to stop the budget: Détente with India now betrayal of Kashmiris, says PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Sunday normalising relations with India in the present situation would be tantamount to betrayal of Kashmiris.

Responding to queries from callers in a live television programme, the PM said Pakistan could definitely hold talks with India if India withdraws the steps it took on August 5, "then we can definitely hold talks", building a roadmap to sort out the Kashmir issue.

The PM said he tried his best since his first day in power to improve relations with India and to sort out the Kashmir issue through dialogue. However, the PM said, given the situation right now, normalising relations with India would be Land Cruisers. Those who had a cycle business, now have apartments in London’s Mayfair and do not own cars any lesser than Bentleys and Rolls Royces,” he said.

“They reside in London neighbourhoods where even the British prime minister cannot afford to live. And Britain’s yearly revenue is 50 times that of Pakistan’s with a population only 30 percent of the size of ours,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister said the country’s projected growth rate at more than 4 percent would spur economic activities in the country, which would create job opportunities and reduce price hike. He said economic growth rate had baffled his political opponents who wanted the government to fail in meeting these economic challenges left behind by the successive governments. He said the opposition won’t be able to stop the budget.

The prime minister said life was a lesson full of ups and downs and no one aspires to rise in life without overcoming different challenges. Referring to his cricket career, he said it was based upon continuous struggle and competition.

“The one who succumbs to difficulties in life fails,” he added.

The prime minister said his government had inherited historic problems, with current account deficit and burden of loans. He said how they had steered the boat out of these difficulties was a crucial phase.

“We have to go through these ordeals. I am pleased over the success of 4 percent growth rate which according to experts is estimated to further increase,” he added.

The prime minister said there were two problems, price-hike and unemployment, but when the wheel of economy moves on and growth rate increases, people would get employment, reducing their poverty.

The prime minister said the revenue collection by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was historic one — over Rs4m000 billion revenue collection was a record. He said the automation system would be fully introduced.

“In the past, it was resisted by the people taking benefits from the corrupt regime, they did not want it to happen,” he said.

The prime minister said the track and trace system, would also help the system function smoothly, besides, enhancing the tax collection. During coronavirus pandemic, he said, the government’s successful strategy saved public lives and their livelihood.

“Inshallah, the country will witness further progress,” he said.

About economic issues, he said the opposition parties are not united for any ideology, and they wanted to get NRO and tried to create hurdles and blackmail the government.

About normalisation of trade ties with India, the prime minister said that from day first, he tried to improve the bilateral ties, but now after India’s illegal and unilateral steps of August 5 on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), it would not happen. Under such situation, he said, it would amount to treachery with the people of Kashmir. He said about one lac Kashmiris had sacrificed their lives for their right to self-determination. He said restoring trade with India was unthinkable unless they take back their August 5 illegal steps.

About Palestine issue, the prime minister said it was similar to what was happening in IIOJ&K. “Kashmiris and Palestinians are facing illegal settlements aimed at changing the demography with continuation of system of oppression,” he said.

The prime minister said two-state was the only solution as step forward. He said even in the US and West people were raising their voices against injustice with Palestinian people.

The prime minister, to a query, informed that the government would construct 10 dams to overcome the looming threat of water scarcity and global warming. “Distribution of water in the provinces is also a matter of grave concern,” he said, adding that due to water theft, water did not reach to weak people. He observed that it was Sindh government’s responsibility to ensure water supply to the tail end and protect interests of the weak growers.

About Rawalpindi Ring Road project, the prime minister said it was vital for addressing transport issues. He said someone had provided him information about the wrongdoing in the project. He shared that upon inquiry it surfaced that road alignment was changed to benefit the powerful. He said that after two weeks, a complete inquiry report would be submitted before him and appropriate action would be initiated against the responsible.

In the upcoming budget, the prime minister said, the government would get facility of importing duty free equipment.

The prime minister, to a question, said the most difficult thing was to reform an institution which had been corrupted when compared with establishment of a new one.

About Punjab police reforms, the prime minister said a former IG Punjab had furnished a report during 1993 which indicated that about 25,000 inductions into police were made after taking bribes, and some among them who were recruited had been hardened criminals. He observed that in the past, the police force was misused for carrying out illegal acts, but now they are working to reform the force and expressed confidence that Punjab Police would be modelled on line of KP Police.

Responding to an overseas caller, the prime minister said that anyone whose lands were occupied could approach Pakistan Citizen Portal or contact on the relevant telephone numbers given on its website to register their complaints.

The prime minister said all land record would be soon computerised in Punjab and KP so that no one could encroach over lands.