QUETTA/ZIARAT: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Quetta on Tuesday and addressed the participants of the staff course at the Command and Staff College.
Addressing the officers, the prime minister said the Pakistan Army has produced unmatched results when pitched against its adversaries and successfully deterred the nefarious designs of Pakistan's enemies. He added that the country's defence is impregnable due to the professionalism of the battle-hardened armed forces of Pakistan.
He deliberated at length upon his vision of future of Pakistan where rule of law, across the board accountability and justice are order of the day. “Establishment of a prosperous state in line with Islamic principles and ideology of our great leaders like Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam can be achieved only if we work hard consistently as a nation,” the prime minister stated.
He said the government has made all out efforts for progress in various sectors like agriculture, industry, technology and automation. The PM advised the officers to pursue their dreams without fear of failure to achieve their objectives.
On his arrival at the Command and Staff College, Prime Minister Imran Khan was received by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Commander Quetta Corps Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that the country has been steered out of economic hardships and is set to achieve further growth in the upcoming year. "I have good news to share with you: the country is coming out of economic hardships. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth (during the current fiscal) is estimated at around four percent and has been made public," Imran Khan said while speaking to a gathering here at the Quaid Residency.
The prime minister regretted that the opposition parties, which have been claiming for the past two and a half years that the government has failed, were now disputing the GDP growth figure.
"In fact, the opposition parties want the present government to fail in economic terms, as they fear that if the government succeeds, their politicking would end," he said. "Since the present government came into power, the opposition parties are giving deadlines for its end -- in three months or by December 31, etc. But I am worried about the opposition; what will they do now?" the prime minister added.
He expressed the optimism that the country would achieve further economic growth in the next fiscal year. "Pakistan will go further up (in economic terms) during our next government," he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said despite the economic restraints due to the debt burden it inherited and the fact that there was a coalition government in the province, the federal government was spending much in Balochistan because it owned the people of the province, which was neglected in the past. "Had the previous governments spent more in Balochistan, the situation would have been better," he remarked.
Imran Khan said the leaders had two choices: either to make money for themselves or to spend on the nation. "If I think about palaces in London, how will I think about the nation!" he said. The prime minister referred to the contribution of Mahatir Muhammad and Lee Kuan Yew -- leaders of Malaysia and Singapore -- in the development of their countries and said they did not make money or build palaces in London but served their countries and nations.
He said Ziarat could be turned into a tourism hub for enhancing the income of the local populace and to check poverty.
The prime minister said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which had faced terrorism and even lost lives of 500 policemen, achieved enhanced development during the 2013-18 government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
He also referred to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, which has acknowledged reduction in poverty, reduction of gap between the rich and poor, and enhanced spending in the areas of human development, education, health and tourism.
Imran Khan said with half of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa population given health insurance cards previously, now the provincial government has achieved 100% coverage of health insurance, providing the facility of one million rupees for every family to get free medical treatment from any hospital.
Similarly, he said, the Government of Punjab would also provide the facility of health insurance across the province by the end of 2021. Due to the health insurance scheme, a network of hospitals would be established in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab by the private sector.
The prime minister also urged the Balochistan government to launch the health insurance scheme in the province for the benefit of the people, especially the poor who face many economic hardships in case a family member gets ill.
Regarding the non-availability of Sui gas in Ziarat, he assured that in order to address the issue, the government -- after having the project's feasibility done -- would provide funds for the establishment of an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) plant in the area during the next fiscal year.
The prime minister said as it was the duty of the federal government to help the government and people of Balochistan in the development of the province, the government would do all to achieve the objective.
Imran Khan said as he believed that Pakistan's progress depended on inclusive development, the government would continue to support Balochistan and other areas of the country, including the merged tribal areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, southern areas of Punjab such as Mianwali, Bhakkar and DG Khan, and interior Sindh that lag behind due to the past neglect.
He also mentioned the government's historic Ehsaas Programme, which comprises support for skill development and women empowerment in villages, and loans for youth and said all the schemes were meant to support the poor.
Moreover, under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, the prime minister said, people from the low income group including the salaried class, labourers, mechanics, etc., were being provided houses and apartments on ownership basis through easy installments that is the same amount they pay for a rented house.
He said he was pleased to visit the Quaid's Residency, which was a historic monument. The prime minister also expressed his grief over the martyrdom of Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel in terrorist attacks in Quetta and Turbat on Tuesday. He prayed that may Allah Almighty rest the departed souls in peace and grant fortitude to the bereaved family members.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal, in his welcome remarks, said the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan despite the terrorist incident showed the present government's resolve to fight terrorism and foil the designs of anti-Pakistan elements.
He praised the prime minister for initiating various development projects in Balochistan, including roads and highways for enhanced connectivity of the province, and spending and allocating billions of rupees for that purpose.
The chief minister pointed out the problem of non-availability of natural gas in Ziarat and proposed for the establishment of an LPG plant in the area, which, besides addressing the issue, would also help preserve the precious thousands years old Juniper trees, cut by the local people to fulfill their needs of cooking and heating.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan also unveiled the memorial statue of Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah at the Quaid's Residency. He also planted a tree at the lawns of the Residency and offered prayers on the occasion.
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