ZIARAT: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth estimated at around 4% during the current fiscal (2020-21), the country had 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 that the country is coming out of economic hardships. The GDP growth is estimated at around 4% and has been made public,” Imran Khan said while speaking to a gathering at the Quaid’s Residency here.
The Prime Minister regretted that the opposition parties that had been predicting his government’s downfall for the last two and half years, were now disputing the GDP growth numbers.
“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 forever,” he remarked.
The Prime Minister said: “Since the present government came to power, the opposition parties are regularly giving deadlines for the end of government. But I am worried about the opposition that what will they do now?”
He expressed his optimism that the country will achieve further economic growth during the next fiscal year. “Pakistan will go further up [in economic terms] during our next government,” he said.
The prime minister said despite the economic restraints due to the debt burden it inherited and the fact that there was coalition government in the province, the federal government was still spending a lot in Balochistan because it owned the people of the province, which was neglected in the past.
“Had the previous governments spent more on Balochistan, the situation would have been better,” he remarked.
Imran Khan said the leaders had two choices either to make money for themselves or spend on the nation. “If I think about palaces in London….How I will think about the nation!” he remarked.
The prime minister referred to the contribution of Mahathir Muhammad and Lee Kuan Yew, the leaders of Malaysia and Singapore, respectively, 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 local populace.
The prime minister said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which had faced terrorism and even lost the lives of 500 policemen, achieved enhanced development during the 2013-18 government of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI).
He also referred to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, which acknowledged a reduction in poverty, reduction of gap in the rich and the poor, and enhanced spending in the areas of human development, education, health and tourism.
Imran Khan further said with half of the KP population given health insurance cards previously, now the provincial government had achieved 100% coverage of health insurance, providing the facility of Rs one million 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 the KP 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 people, especially the poor ones. About the problem of non-availability of gas in Ziarat, he said the government would provide funds for the establishment of an LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) plant in the area during the next fiscal year.
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 (erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas) in the KP, southern areas of Punjab, including Mianwali, Bhakkar, D G Khan and Interior Sindh.
He also mentioned the government’s Ehsaas Programme, which comprised support for skill development, women empowerment in villages, loans for the youth and said all the schemes were meant to support the poor.
Moreover under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, the prime minister said, low income people, including the salaried class, labourers, mechanics, etc., were being provided houses and apartments on ownership basis through easy installments equaling the amounts they pay for a rented house.
He said he was pleased to visit the Quaid’s Residency, where the Founder of Nation passed his days. He always desired to visit the residency, he added.
The prime minister on the occasion also expressed his grief over the martyrdom of Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel in the terrorist attacks in Quetta and Turbat on Tuesday.
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.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021