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FIA to probe road projects of PMLN era: PM Imran Khan

By Mumtaz Alvi
September 30, 2021
FIA to probe road projects of PMLN era: PM Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been given the responsibility to investigate the money spent on roads construction during the PMLN era.

He was addressing a ground-breaking ceremony for the rehabilitation and upgradation of Lake Zhao, Bela Shah in Balochistan. The premier noted that Minister for Communications Murad Saeed had informed that the difference of four-lane roads built during the PMLN era in 2013 and the cost of roads to be built today was of Rs200 million per kilometre. He said that despite the fact that there has been so much inflation since then, there is still such a difference and the price at which we are building roads today, how much money would we have been saved if we had built them then. He said when corrupt people come to power, the loss to the nation is that they steal their money.

“I have instructed my team to investigate the amount of money stolen from the construction of the roads and we will take a full look. All the information is available on the websites,” he said.

The prime minister said if we are making the roads cheaper today, then think how much the corrupt have robbed the country. He said the area of Balochistan is so large that unless roads are built to connect one area to another, development measures cannot be taken there.

The prime minister said that Balochistan has not been able to develop till date because the government, which thinks of elections after five years, will never develop Balochistan, and that with the same money they can work in Central Punjab which they think will win the elections for them.

He said that if Pakistan was to develop, all parts of the country had to be uplifted in the same way and that could only happen when development work was done in those areas on priority basis which were earlier left behind.

Imran Khan noted that the reason for the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was largely due to the fact that western China was lagging behind, so they wanted to link western China with Gwadar so that development measures could be taken there.

“We should also strive to uplift the areas of Pakistan that have been left behind for the last 70 years. This will benefit not only those areas but the whole of Pakistan and this will happen when in the long run planning will be made. He continued that if China is leading the world today, it is because of its long-term plans. “When we went to China, they told us what they planned for the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.

The prime minister said the country moves forward only with long term planning. “If you keep thinking of elections then the country will never move forward,” he added.

He said that the main reason for the backwardness of Balochistan is the focus of the federal governments on winning the elections. Besides, he said, the politicians here are also to blame for taking advantage of their caste to develop constituencies, not the entire province.

The prime minister said that if the members of Balochistan Assembly had thought of the whole province instead of their constituencies, the situation would have been better.

“We don't have a government in Sindh. However, when we wanted to distribute cash under the Ehsass program, we first saw where the highest poverty was in the country. The poverty rate in Sindh is 22 percent and it was given 34 percent of the money from the Ehsaas programme,” he said.

Imran Khan continued that unless there is communication in Balochistan, there will be no development. Therefore, he said, roads are more important in Balochistan than in the whole of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan said attention should be paid to non-traditional products to increase the volume of exports and targets should be set for officers posted in Pakistani embassies to achieve targets.

In this connection, Imran Khan chaired a review meeting on increasing exports. Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Trade Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yousaf and senior officials participated.

The prime minister said that the government was providing all possible facilities to exporters. In order to increase exports, he said, diversification of products and geographical focus should be given to the countries where there is a market for Pakistani products.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan said the government will complete the legal reforms in any case. In this context, a meeting of the PTI parliamentary party was held under the chairmanship of Imran Khan in which various issues were discussed.

The prime minister said free and fair elections have always been needed in the country. “We have reviewed best practices in the world, and we will complete the legal reforms now,” he said.