ISLAMABAD, May 11 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said it was his prime goal to make Pakistan a great nation by making the corrupt and powerful mafia accountable before law.
“To bring powerful accountable before law is a Jihad. We will make corrupt political leaders and mafias surrender before rule of law,” the prime minister said in a live telephonic call session with the general public.
This was the third such interactive session titled ‘Aap ka Wazir-e-Azam, Aap ke Sath’, where the prime minister took live phone calls and responded to the public questions..
Imran Khan vowed to uphold the supremacy of law and justice to make Pakistan great. A nation, he said, could not become strong unless it empowered its weaker sections, and that was the reason he had joined politics and named his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf after justice.
“TO BRING POWERFUL ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE LAW IS A JIHAD. WE WILL MAKE CORRUPT POLITICAL LEADERS AND MAFIAS SURRENDER BEFORE RULE OF LAW”
He said the government was firm to ensure socio-economic justice in the country. “We are nearing our destination and I will fight these mafias and win”.
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPT ELITE:
The prime minister said a nation could not prosper, whose leaders and prime ministers stole money as it resulted in the weakening of the country’s economy.
He mentioned that the FACTI Panel of the United Nations revealed that some $1,000 billion was illegally transferred from poor to rich countries annually.
The prime minister asked the public to report cases of illegal land grabbing directly to him and mentioned that the government had cleared 21,000 acres of land worth Rs 27 billion from such mafia.
He recalled that Pakistan Muslim League leader Maryam Nawaz sided with a land grabber when the government cleared the state land from illegal occupation after thorough investigation into the records.
He said the land laws were reformed in Islamabad and Khyeber Pukhtunkhwa to settle the litigation on land disputes within one year, and assured that the delay in that regard in Punjab would also be taken into view.
The prime minister said his government did not interfere with the working of the judiciary and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as it wanted the rule of law in its true spirit.
On accountability of his party leader Jehangir Tareen, he dismissed the impression that any injustice or victimization was made. He pledged that those who were involved in price hike of sugar would be punished.
He mentioned that the sugar mafia by one rupee (per kilogram) price increase extorted Rs 5 billion from the pockets of masses.
“The sugar industrialists paid RS 22 billion as tax in five years but got Rs 29 billion rupees on account of subsidy. There will be no concession with any mafia,” he added.
“I am answerable before Almighty Allah. How can I put the poor in jails and set the powerful free?” he asked.
Imran Khan said cartels and monopoly as witnessed in case of sugar mills resulted in inflation. The appointment of Shaukat Tareen as finance minister is in view of controlling inflation and increasing the growth rate, he added.
On petroleum prices, he said the government had kept the price of the commodity lowest compared to India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, U.S. Turkey, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Bhutan to cheapest oil so as to avoid burden on consumers.
Worldwide, he said, the prices of commodities went up during pandemic, including gas by 60 percent, food 29 pc, metal 41 pc, crude oil 84 pc, cotton 44 pc, palm oil 54.8 pc, soya bean oil 36.6 pc and sugar 14.5 percent. According to a Bloomberg report on food inflation and agricultural sub-index, Pakistan still kept the prices low, he added.
GAINING ECONOMIC STABILITY:
Prime Minister Imran Khan said with solid steps, the government had achieved remarkable economic growth in diverse sectors.
He said the government through reforms reduced economic losses of public corporations from Rs 286 billion to Rs 143 billion, whereas the current account deficit remained in surplus for last 10 months besides increase in foreign exchange reserves touching $15.6 billion. He also acknowledged the financial assistance by Saudi Arabia and China in gaining Pakistan the economic stability.
“During the pandemic situation when the whole world is facing financial crunch, our government have saved the economy,” he said.
Imran Khan said now, rupee had strengthened against dollar at Rs 152, exports increased by 13.5 percent, the Euro bond helped gain $2.5 billion and revenue of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was increased by 11 percent.
He said textile and cement industries witnessed a boom, while local car manufacturing was recorded at 18 percent. The Karachi Stock Exchange showed bullish trend by 66 percent increase as per Bloomberg and the information technology exports increased by 44 percent.
INCENTIVES FOR FARMERS:
Imran Khan said Pakistan had immense potential in agriculture sector and the government would announce reforms every two weeks aimed at introducing advanced growing modes and by directly facilitating the farmers.
He mentioned that 65 percent farmers in the country owned the land of less than five acres and the government aimed at benefitting them through incentives such as Kisan card and subsidy.
He said private sector would be involved on technique learning of farmers and seed development.
In view of increase in population, he said, we have started thinking of long-term food security plan and increase production of wheat and milk.
PM Khan said an additional Rs 1,100 billion were given to farmers in lieu of direct subsidy on seeds and fertilizers which resulted in high production of sugarcane and corn by 22 and 27 percent, respectively.
HOUSING SECTOR & CITY MASTER PLANS:
The prime minister said incentives in housing sectors had encouraged economic activity and the banks were offering loans for construction of houses. He acknowledged the role of courts in passage of foreclosure law of banks which he said greatly helped in materialization of low-cost housing project.
Responding to a caller who complained about delay in a housing project for government employees in Bhara Kahu, he advised his staff to note the matter for further pursuance.
To overcomster plans of cities and had also allowed vertical construction to maximum accommodate the population.
Imran Khan said lack of planning and civic infrastructure had led to improper expansion of metropolitans. He said barrages were being to overcome water scarcity, adding that for Islamabad, special arrangement of water supply was in progress.
On the issue of Kashmir, the prime minister categorically stated that Pakistan would not resume talks with India till it restored the special status of the Occupied Valley.
“Unless India reverts to its August 5, 2019 action, Pakistan will not hold talks,” he said.
Imran Khan said the Hindu supremacist ideology of the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party of India was being condemned at the international level. He lauded the role of Pakistan’s Foreign Office in leading a full campaign to highlight the Kashmir issue globally.
Imran Khan appealed to the nation to follow precautions to contain the spread of the third wave of coronavirus, particularly during the Eid holidays.
“I request you to follow Standard Operating Procedures and particularly use face masks. Take care of your elderly so as to avoid lockdown,” he said.
To a question on reduction of timings in bazaars that led to more crowd, he said the schedule could be reviewed in consultation with National Command and Control Centre (NCOC).
He said Pakistan was working on producing its own COVID-19 vaccine and said “good news was in this regard is in the offing”.
PORTAL FOR OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS:
Imran Khan announced establishment of a dedicated portal for the overseas Pakistanis to be headed by the foreign minister, where complaints could directly be lodged if an embassy or foreign mission did not respond to their pleas.
He said the portal would be advertised soon where a special officer would be working under the foreign minister as a focal person to deal with the complaints.
He mentioned that the Foreign Office was working well in area of diplomacy. The government was focusing on two areas – consular services and attracting foreign investment. He, however, admitted that his recent interaction with the diplomats deployed at missions abroad, where he had pointed out the shortcomings, should not have gone on air for public consumption.
BORDER MARKETS WITH IRAN & AFGHANISTAN:
Imran Khan said smuggling was a big problem at the borders with Iran and Afghanistan and mentioned that the smuggling of Iranian petrol, that was earlier causing huge financial loss, had been completely stopped at the border.
He said establishment of markets at both borders would encourage the traders to involve in economic activity and refrain from smuggling.
Responding to a caller who complained to the prime minister of leaving Karachi to the mercy of provincial government, Imran Khan said following the 18th Amendment, around 57 percent of resources were directly going to provinces.
He mentioned that the federal government was ready to provide assistance to the province and announced that a Sindh package had been prepared for its development.
CLEAN & GREEN EVNIRONMENT :
Imran Khan said for the first time in the country’s history, a government was taking steps for a clean and green environment.
He mentioned plantation of one billion trees in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and launch of Miyawaki method for urban forestation which he said were a step for saving the future generations.
To tap the immense potential of Pakistan’s natural beauty, he said 20 new tourist destinations were being prepared.
The prime minister strongly condemned the incidents of Israeli atrocities carried out on the 27th Ramazan against innocent Palestinians and stressed joint efforts of the Muslim nations to highlight the issue at international level.
PERFORMANCE OF MINISTERS:
Imran Khan said not all of his cabinet members were “super stars”, adding that if someone would not give their best performance, they would be replaced.
To a caller disabled with four limbs who requested to have a meeting, the prime minister asked his military secretary to arrange a meeting.
The prime minister will hold the next live telephonic interaction with public after Eid.