Elite-centric policies inflicted huge damage upon poor: PM

RAIWIND/LAHORE – Prime Minister Imran Khan said Thursday that his government was focusing on equitable distribution of resources to rich and poor by ensuring basic amenities of life for all.

 “The notion of ‘elite capture’ and the prevailing mindset that Pakistan belongs to a particular class only is regrettable,” PM Imran Khan said while addressing launching ceremony of Punjab Peri-Urban Housing project for low-income groups.

Imran Khan said no nation could prosper with ‘an island of rich and a big sea of poor’ and regretted that during last 74 years, only particular elite ruled the country. He said the elite-centric policies inflicted huge damage upon the poor whose access to civic facilities including health, education and jobs greatly suffered.

The prime minister said his vision was to make powerful answerable to law and strengthen the weaker segments of society. He said Islam’s first socio-welfare State of Medina was a model to be emulated where rule of law and justice prevailed regardless of the status of a person.

He pointed that Opposition wanted an NRO (deal) from him to spare their corruption, however he said that such efforts would go in vain. He said political elite in the past patronised illegal land grabbing that led to litigation and obstructed development work. 

Imran Khan said the government had launched several affordable housing schemes for low-income groups, adding that construction industry was resulting in economic boom in the country. As construction sector was connected with 30 other industries, he said, the step would help resolve the problems of accommodation and unemployment.

Next two weeks are very significant and our target is to bring down virus cases, says PM

 

He mentioned that the recently cleared foreclosure law of banks greatly helped in materialising the low-cost housing schemes. The prime minister said ill-planning of infrastructure and encroachment in cities were leading to civic problems including poor sanitation, pollution and mushroom growth of slums.

 

He said a plan to equip slums with basic amenities was on cards and vowed to give ownership rights to the slum-dwellers. The prime minister, who also virtually inaugurated the work at nine other sites including Chiniot, Dera Ghazi Khan, Chunian, Khanewal, Khushab, Mandi Bahauddin, Mianwali, Jalalpur Pirwalla and Sargodha, said the project would facilitate the common man.

 

 He lauded Frontier Works Organization (FWO) and the government of Punjab for executing the work on low-cost housing in record time.  Imran Khan said Pakistan was blessed with areas having spectacular natural beauty, adding that proper tourism strategy could earn the country huge revenues.

 

He said the government was focused on bringing a revolution in agriculture sector and mentioned that he was personally overseeing the area to facilitate farmers. He said during last two years, the farmers were given an additional payment of Rs11 billion and the yields of wheat, rice and corn witnessed a record production. The prime minister mentioned that Pakistan was also undergoing development in information technology with record exports of equipment in 11 years.

 

‘Next two weeks very significant’

On COVID-19, the prime minister appealed to the public to observe Standard Operating Procedures to contain the dangerous wave of pandemic and stressed to continue the use of face mask as a crucial precaution. “The next two weeks are very significant and our target is to bring down the coronavirus cases,” he said, adding that the situation in India was a lesson to learn from.

 

Imran Khan advised all to wear masks, which had proved to be an effective precautionary measure against coronavirus. With blessings of Allah Almighty, he said, the COVID-19 cases remained under control as compared to the rest of the world. “Had the government not taken an action in improving its healthcare capacity and increasing oxygen supply, the situation would not have been different than India,” he said.

He said the situation in India, where people were dying at roads due to COVID-19, was a lesson to learn from. “Therefore, I advise everyone to adopt caution by wearing mask and help contain the spread of virus,” he said.

 

Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said in first phase, over one million houses would be constructed and the project would later be expanded to the tehsil level.

He said the Punjab government would extend Rs 0.3 million subsidy on each house to low-income groups.

 

Earlier, the Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Punjab peri-urban low-cost housing scheme project at Raiwind to be built at 10 sites to facilitate low-income groups living in smaller cities and rural areas of the province. The project is being finalised in collaboration with the Government of Punjab and Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority.

The residential colonies consisting 100 to 500 housing units will be constructed in the suburbs of cities and rural areas of the province. The land for this purpose will be provided through the Board of Revenue Punjab at affordable price.

 

‘Low-cost housing projects in Punjab’

 

Also, Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday assured the Punjab government of the Centre’s all-out support under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme for low-cost housing projects in the province.

 

Chairing a meeting to review progress on the construction of houses for low-income group during his visit here, the prime minister appreciated the project sites proposed by the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency.

 

Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Housing Minister Mian Mahmood-ur-Rasheed and Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht, Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Chairman Lt General (Retd) Anwar Ali Haider and senior officers attended the meeting.

 

In the meeting, the proposals were presented for provision of subsidies to the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency, bank financing and support in provision of manpower.

The participants were also briefed in detail about the people’s housing needs, start of balloting process after Eid and participation of the private sector in housing sector.

It was told that an encouraging participation of the private sector had been witnessed after the approval of housing rules by the Punjab Government.

 

‘Rule of law’

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan could only achieve prosperity and economic development by ensuring equitable enforcement of law and providing justice to the masses.

 

The prime minister, in a meeting with the members of the National Assembly and Punjab provincial assembly here during his visit, said the South Punjab region lagged behind in development owing to unjust distribution of resources in the past.

 

However, the incumbent government would take all out measures for uplift of South Punjab, he assured.

Federal Minister for Industries Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, and Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht attended the meeting.

Among the parliamentarians who met the prime minister included MNAs Farooq Azam, Rana Qasim Noon, Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dareshak, Tahir Iqbal, Abdul Ghaffar Wattoo, Mian Shafiq Arain and Sardar Amir Talal Gopang, and MPAs, Samiullah Chaudhry, Hasnain Dareshak, and Dost Muhammad Mazari.

The meeting focused the public welfare projects and establishment of South Punjab Secretariat.

The parliamentarians presented proposals for different projects including roads, clean drinking water and sewage.

The legislators thanked the prime minister for prioritizing the development projects in South Punjab. They viewed that the PTI government was pursuing a vision for the progress and prosperity of South Punjab.

The prime minister directed the parliamentarians to ensure resolution of the issued facing their constituents and assured that he would soon chair a meeting for approval of the proposals put forward by them.

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