ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said people of the country were becoming prosperous, but still the biggest problem was the rule of law, as the powerful corrupt could never be dealt with as per the law.
The prime minister said this while addressing a special function here in connection with the performance of the PTI government in three years. He spoke on politics, the role of opposition, performance of various sectors, including economy, and showered praise on the armed forces, particularly in the backdrop of the Pulwama incident.
Speaking on the issue of rule of law, he said that PPP was in power during 1988-90 and when the PMLN formed the government in 1990, Asif Zardari went straight to jail from Prime Minister’s House due to corruption, and when PMLN government ended, Zardari again straight away went to the PM House from jail. “It means, when he was in power, Pakistan’s law could not touch him and when in the opposition, the law took its course. No country can make progress, where there is no rule of law,” the premier noted.
“The rule of law is the basis for any civilised nation. A country can’t be ruinedwith common (people’s) corruption, but it is devastated when Imran Khan and his ministers would indulge in this menace,” he said.
Imran Khan emphasised that no one in the world had done a great job without fail till today. “Unless you go through a difficult struggle, you cannot do a great work and become a leader by taking any shortcut,” he said.
He explained, “Before I came to power, the 22-year struggle was fierce, there were times when only five or six active people were left and the rest stayed at home. Many people used to make fun of me in those bad times. Many used to say that we are made fun of because you are in the PTI.”
Imran Khan initially his team was inexperienced and the journey of change was arduous. He said the biggest motivation for him in those difficult days was the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), who also had a very difficult time initially.
He contended, “We should not panic in difficult times. If we understand difficult times and analyse them, that is the way to you rise.” About the three-year PTI government, the prime minister remarked, “Our three years have been very difficult because when we took over the government, we had no money to pay our foreign exchange reserves and debts, we were going bankrupt in terms of payments. Our current account deficit was the largest in the country's history, so if Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China had not helped us in difficult time, the rupee would have depreciated further.”
The prime minister said “we were forced to go to the IMF because we did not have the money. If we follow these conditions, the people will face difficulties. We were just getting out of this predicament when corona came, Pulwama came before corona, but God gave us success in this matter.” He spoke highly for the Army and Air Force.
He slammed the statements made by the opposition parties against the Army, and said that in the past he had also criticised the Army, as any institution can make mistakes. “The judiciary, the Army and we politicians also make mistakes, but this is not to say that you should start cursing your Army and go after them,” he said, adding that he is thankful to the Army for cooperation with the government.
Imran Khan criticised the opposition, and wondered what kind of democrats they were that now they wanted the Army to topple a democratic government, “but the way they unleashed criticism on the Army was fully in our knowledge”.
He said the Indian lobby was trying its level best to defame the Army and were after them. He reminded how a full fledge attempt was made to establish that Taliban won in Afghanistan just because of the support of Pak Army. He said a full campaign was underway since long to discredit the Army, while people sitting in the country also had opened a front against the Army.
“When Pulwama happened, I realised how important the Army is; there was confidence that we could say with courage that if Modi did anything, then we will retaliate,” he said amid loud applause and cheering.
With reference to the evolving situation in Afghanistan, the prime minister called on the international community to make full efforts to help the Afghan government: Taliban had announced to include all in the government and that was what the world community wanted.
He emphasised that Afghanistan was facing unrest for the last 40 years and it was time for peace, and all should help in this regard. Imran Khan said that then the corona came, people had no idea how difficult it was for the government. “The difficult time was because the European countries with GDP 30 to 40 times bigger than us locked down and then in India, Modi also imposed lockdown because it is true that lockdown reduces the spread of the epidemic,” he said.
“On this occasion, we had to think of the people who were earning daily and our opposition parties started criticising us. Some people from our party were also nervous when the hospitals were full, but we made a difficult decision that no matter what happens, we will not lock down completely because our poor will starve to death and I believe that God saved us with His blessings,” he said.
Imran Khan pointed out that the World Economic Forum (WEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) gave Pakistan’s example for the best steps it took relating to corona.
“When we came, the current account deficit was $20 billion and today it is $1.8 billion. When we came here, our total foreign exchange reserves were $16.4 billion and today we have $27 billion. When PTI formed government, Rs3,800 billion tax was collected, and today Rs4,700 billion tax is being collected. The statistics I am telling you are not of Ishaq Dar’s, but real,” he remarked.
The premier termed Pakistanis abroad as the biggest asset of the country, and said that when the PTI came to power, remittances were $19.9 billion, and today the remittances have reached $29.4 billion. Likewise, he noted that the industry has grown by more than 18 percent and after 10 years the industry is going up so fast while the sales of cement in the construction sector has increased by 42 percent, while additional Rs1,100 billion has gone to farmers in agriculture.
Similarly, he said, motorcycles were sold in record numbers, record tractors were sold while car sales increased by 85 percent, which means that people are becoming prosperous.
Imran Khan said that before the PTI government, the NAB had recovered Rs290 billion in 18 years, while in PTI’s three years, it has recovered Rs519 billion. The prime minister said that before PTI’s Ehsaas programme, Rs11 billion was given to help the lower class, and the PTI government increased this amount to Rs260 billion.
He said that with realisation, the government’s biggest programme is 'Successful Pakistan Programme' under which it will provide interest-free loans to every member of four million poor families, provide technical education to one person and give health insurance. Imran Khan added that health cards have been issued in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while it will be done in Punjab this year as well.
The premier said the poor will be given cheap houses on instalments i.e. they will have to pay instalment of the house instead of rent, and they will become the owners of the house, while the farmers will be given farmer cards. He said that 10 dams are being built in Pakistan which will be completed in the next 10 years.
He appreciated the Ministry of Education on uniform curriculum across the country, and said “We want equal opportunities for all in this country and in the next few months a special course on Siratun Nabi for eighth, ninth and 10th grades will be started.
About the Lahore harassment incident, Imran Khan said incidents like sexual crimes and child abuse are happening because of mobile phones. He said incidents like Minar-e-Pakistan are embarrassing for us as a nation, so we need to build the character of our children.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry presented the PTI government performance of three years to prime minister.
Fawad Chaudhry said it was the PTI government which had set the tradition of sharing yearly performance report with public. He said before the PTI, there was no culture of sharing the government and its departments’ performance with public continuously.
Lashing out at the opposition alliance PDM which was misleading the public through fake claims, he said they told the people that wheat flour was being sold at exorbitant prices, but at the same time hide the fact that the prices of wheat had also gone up from Rs1,200 (per 40kg) to Rs1,800 which directly benefited the farmers. He said they should tell the public that the prices of sugarcane had also increased by Rs135 (per 40kg) to Rs300 which also provided direct benefit to the farmers. “They had never mention the additional income of Rs1,100 billion generated by the farmers through the numerous steps taken by the government for agriculture sector to whom around 60 percent of population was associated,” he said.
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