MULTAN April 26 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said that establishment of South Punjab secretariat was a step towards new beginning as now, the allocated development funds would be spent on the prosperity of the people of this neglected region.
Addressing a groundbreaking ceremony of South Punjab Secretariat, the prime minister said that according to statistics, the area consisted of 33 per cent population of Punjab province, but in the past, it got only 17 per cent of the total budget allocation.
Due to re-allocation of these uplift funds, about Rs260 billion losses incurred on these areas by the policies of the previous rulers of the province, he added.
The prime minister said they had also decided that South Punjab would get its due job quota according to its size and population. All the issues of the area would be resolved in the secretariat.
He said “South Punjab secretariat is a historical event, a new beginning for South Punjab province and a transition.”
The ceremony was attended by Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, ministers Khusru Bakhtiar, Fakhar Imam, Zartaj Gul, provincial ministers and other high officials.
Criticizing self-centered policies of former rulers of Takht-e-Lahore especially ex-chief minister Shahbaz Sharif towards the South Punjab people, the prime minister shared that he had entered into politics after witnessing that a small segment, a ruling elite was enjoying all powers and impunity.
“Laws have been different for them as they frequently indulged in corruption, deals and NROs. No law of the land was applicable on them. They lived in palatial houses abroad which they had purchased through money laundering,” he added.
The prime minister said these people had been living in posh areas of London where even a British minister could not afford to purchase a property.
About the deprivation and poverty of South Punjab, the prime minister said he brought Chief Minister Usman Buzar so that he could implement his vision over the area.
He wanted a person who preferred to live and die in Pakistan and understood the sufferings of common man and did not go to London on sojourns, he added.
In a veiled reference to former ruling elite, the prime minister said they had been doing politics in Pakistan and making investment abroad.
The prime minister said performance of a chief minister was judged on the basis of how much he had lifted the weaker segments of society and lauded chief minister Sardar Usman Buzdar for making efforts in this regard.
The prime minister further said that the royal family of Lahore spent only on the development of those areas of Lahore where they lived whereas his government focused on the development of merged tribal areas, interior Sindh and other backward areas of the country.
About other achievements, the prime minister said that even the richest countries of the world could not afford to roll out health insurance to all of their populations.
He said the chief minister Punjab had been striving to ensure health insurance to all residents of the province by the end of this year.
The prime minister said today, they also launched Kissan card in Punjab province and it was for the first time that anyone thought of the small farmers.
He said the UNDP report indicated that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had spent hugely on the human development which helped in poverty reduction and bridging the gap between the rich and poor.
The prime minister drawing a parallel between performance of Usman Buzdar and Shahbaz Sharif sarcastically pointed out that a Bollywood actor (Shahbaz Sharif) while donning a hat and wearing boots got himself snapped only for personal projection.
The previous rulers were restricted only to publication of media advertisements for their self projection, he added.
About Islamophobia in the West, the prime minister said that he would prove that his strategy would be successful in countering the issue.
With the cooperation of heads of Islamic countries and through a joint approach, they would go to the European Union and the UN asking them that they could not hurt sentiments of 1.25 billion Muslims in the garb of freedom of expression.
He said it was the only way through which they would effectively counter the future incidents in Europe. While on the other hand, the TLP tried to invade Islamabad through setting riots, he said.
On the occasion, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that for the first time in the country’s history, change was being brought with laying foundation stone for the South Punjab.
The decisions of the South Punjab would be made here by the representatives and people of Multan, Bhawalpur and DG Khan, he added.
Qureshi said it was the concept of devolution of power that people should be given the rights to take their own decisions.
Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said that 33 per cent of the provincial budget was allocated for South Punjab whereas about 30 billion rupees worth development projects would be completed in the region.
Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated different development projects including E-Khidmat Markaz, labour housing colony, shelter home, establishment of five Miyawaki forest and others.