Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday expressed his determination to develop Pakistan as a welfare state in line with the teachings of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him) and the principles of Riasat-e-Madina.
“Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in his last sermon gave a charter for humanity. The principles given by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are now being followed by many countries of the world,” he said while responding to the questions of the general public in a live television program – “Aap ka Wazir Azam Awam kay Sath“ – through telephone.
The prime minister said the Riasat-e-Madina gave the concept of a truly modern welfare state to the world by ensuring rule of law and care of the poor.
He said the government was introducing a special subject about the Life of Holy Prophet (PBUH) – Seerat-e-Nabi (SAW) in the syllabus of 8th, 9th and 10th grades so that the youth had full knowledge and understanding about the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the State of Madina that he created.
The Prime Minister said the countries which adopted and followed the principles of Riasat-e-Madina achieved progress and development. “Unfortunately, we did not follow those principles,” he remarked.
He said that developing Pakistan on the principles of the State of Madina was a struggle and was not “like switching a button”.
“INSHALLAH PAKISTAN IS GOING TO BECOME A GREAT NATION” PM
“Inshallah Pakistan is going to become a great nation,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister in his interaction on the telephone with the general public responded to their queries on a host of issues ranging from Risasat-e-Madina to everyday issues, confronting the people in their day to day lives.
The Blasphemy issue
Prime Minister Imran Khan to a question said regretfully the trend of blasphemy, which causes a lot of pain to Muslims across the world, began in the West, after a book written by Salman Rushdi in 1989. He said the practice was hurting the sentiments of the Muslims as the West continues with the practice under the garb of freedom of speech.
He said the West, unlike the Muslims, did not fully understand the religious sentiments of the Muslims and reverence they have towards their Holy Prophet (PBUH).
The Prime Minister said he took up the matter at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations General Assembly, along with Dr. Mahathir Mohammad and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to seek the support of the international bodies in an effort for concerted efforts to put a stop to such a negative trend.
He said the whole Muslim world needs to raise a strong unanimous voice on the subject to make the Western world realize the gravity and seriousness of the issue.
National Reconciliation Ordinance
Prime Minister Imran Khan in response to a question on why he denies NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to the opposition leaders, said; “Then we should open the jails. Why should those involved in petty crimes like stealing a motorbike or a buffalo be jailed?”
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the NRO to the opposition would be like “committing treason to the country” to pardon the looters.
He said the country was still repaying the loans the previous governments had taken a decade ago
He again referred to the State of Mdina and the golden principles put in place by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and said no country can achieve progress and development without following the rule of law. Any country that pursues; “might is right” could neither achieve any development nor prosper, he added.
The Prime Minister said many nations that did not ensure rule of law faced destruction. “NROs lead a country to destruction,” he remarked.
He said Pakistan was one the most resource-rich nations but was lagging behind just because of the corruption of its previous leaders, who laundered money abroad. On the contrary, he said the countries with rule of law like Switzerland and Scandinavian countries were prospering despite having no huge resources except tourism.
He said the money laundering by leaders hit the country two-way – the money they laundered reduced the dollars in the country and also led to the depreciation of the local currency.
He said the accountability of the leaders was more important than that of patwaris or SHOs.
He said President Pervez Musharraf gave NRO to looters which multiplied the debt burden over the 10 years and today half of the collected revenue goes to pay a markup on the existing loans, he added.
First Shipment of Covid-19 vaccine
To a question, the prime minister said the first shipment of COVID vaccine had arrived that would be first administered to the frontline health workers and then the elderly people will get their dose. The government, he said, would try to cover the maximum population by end of this year, he added.
Imran Khan said the government was resolved to develop Gilgit Baltistan as a tourism hub as the area was double the size of Switzerland and was rich with far more natural beauty.
He said Switzerland, being half of the Northern Areas was earning $80 billion US dollars, while Pakistan’s total exports were only $25 billion US dollars.
He assured one called of construction of small hydropower projects and development of main roads to attract tourists to these far off areas.
When a questioner drew attention towards the backwardness of the Turbat area of Balochistan, the prime minister pointed that previous political set-ups had damaged the area, as the money allocated for the uplift of the areas was never spent.
He said the local government system was a solution to the problem of backward and neglected areas in Balochistan and elsewhere. He said the government had already announced the “biggest development package” for the uplift of Turbat and other districts of Sothern Balochistan.
He said the government had also decided to introduce 3G and 4G services for benefit of the population, particularly the students from Balochistan, for online education.
“You will have to show a bit of patience. We are also developing merged tribal areas. We are lacking the resources needed for the development,” he said.
He said the government would ensure that the revenue from the mineral resources of Balochistan was spent on the development and welfare of the local population.
Naya Pakistan Housing
Regarding the housing loans, the prime minister said house financing in Pakistan stood at 0.2% against 80% in the US, UK and Europe, 30% in Malaysia, and 10% in India.
He said as the only bottleneck has been removed after approval of foreclosure law, the banks were now extending loans purely on merit without any political intervention.
He said the government would also give subsidies on the construction of the first 100,000 houses making the beneficiaries use their money to pay installments, instead of the house rent.
The prime minister to a question said he fully realized the people’s difficulties owing to inflation, though it had come down comparing the time of government’s formation.
The government, he said, had inherited record trade and current account deficits. However consequent to its prudent policies, the current account deficit had been balanced with a record increase in exports and remittances.
He said during the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government, the rupee had depreciated by 25.5% with the consumer price index (CPI) standing at 17%, while during 2018-19, the CPI was 7.3% despite rupee devaluation by 34.1%.
The prime minister assured the nation that he was fully monitoring the inflation and the situation would hopefully improve with the betterment of the economy.
Foreign Funding Case
To a question on the foreign funding case, Imran Khan said the opposition leaders had got entangled in their own trap and asked the Election Commission to take the case to its logical end.
He said the PTI was the only political party, which had done political fundraising through special sessions. The party could provide details of around 40,000 donors, he said, challenging the opposition parties to furnish the accounts of just 100 donors.
He said Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman should also be probed whether they got funding from Osama Bin Laden and the Libyan government respectively.
Asked about reforms in the Pakistan Cricket Board, he said the debt burden caused by massive political recruitment had annihilated the institutions like PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) and Steel Mills.
He said establishing new institutions was easier than reforming the existing ones. Exemplifying the Punjab Police, the prime minister said the previous government had appointed 25,000 people out of merit, even those with criminal backgrounds.
He said cricket was on its way to its reform as regional cricket had already started in the country to promote the sport.
He said the previous regimes did not make long-term planning rather they remained focused on their five-year terms just to inaugurate short-term projects and attract votes.
The incumbent government was the first one to think about the future generations by executing long term projects.
He said during the current month he would launch a massive olive plantation to cope with domestic needs as well as reduce the import bill.
Touching the gloomy affairs of PIA, the prime minister said the airline faced Rs 400 billion debt owing to massive recruitment and political intervention. However, the government was trying to ensure its deliverance from any political influence and make it a profitable entity.
He said the construction sector was on the boom and cement sales witnessed a record increase. The government incentivized the construction sector because it provided the most number of employment opportunities.
About the universal health coverage, the prime minister said he felt proud of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s initiative of health insurance facility to the entire population. The KP government had set out on a journey of Riasat-e-Madina.
By year-end, the same facility would be introduced for the whole of Punjab, he added.
Asked about the Senate poll, the prime minister said previously the parliamentarians used to sell their votes against huge money. Anyone buying the Senate seat would ultimately make money, which would give way to corruption.
He said the government would present a constitutional amendment in the Parliament for open balloting, which would also test the opposition parties whether they backed legislation to end the corrupt practice or not.
Asked about the Broadsheet scandal, he said the firm hired by General Musharraf had dug out $100 million assets of Nawaz Sharif in London, but instead of retrieving the money, he (Musharraf) gave an NRO to the PM-N leader. The London court ruled in the firm’s favor asking the Pakistan government to pay the agreed 20pc of the assets’ value found by the firm.
He said the purpose of Justice Azmat Saeed’s commission was to probe the assets of PPP leader Asif Zardari abroad as the justice had vast experience in the accountability system for having served as a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor.
To a question, the prime minister said the government had been urging the United Nations to pressure India to stop violations at the Line of Control (LoC).
The Kashmir issue, he said, had reached a point where the whole world was looking at it. On February 5, he would also address a gathering in Kotli to mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day, he added.
As a questioner complained about the illegal occupation of his land by private housing in Islamabad’s rural area, the prime minister urged the people to report such cases on the Citizen Portal.
“We have declared a war against the land mafia. We will go after them to the lowest level,” he resolved and hinted at a new civil procedure code to ensure the disposal of such cases within a year.
He said land mafias got strengthened for enjoying the patronage of political leaders and the poor people or overseas Pakistanis became their worst victims.
Earlier Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz shared a video clip where the Prime Minister was heading to interact with the people on the telephone.
The one and a half-hour-long program of the Prime Minister’s interaction was aired lived by all the news channels. The activity generated a lot of interest on social media with the hashtag #آپکا_وزیراعظم_آپکے_ساتھ getting on the top trends.