LAHORE - Reiterating his resolve to send “every corrupt” to jail no matter how strongly the opposition parties react, Prime Minister Imran Khan said here on Saturday the country would live under constant threat unless the menace of corruption was completely eradicated.

He vowed the government would make no compromise on accountability process as it were the people who bore the brunt of corruption.

Every civilised country achieved economic prosperity and increased its foreign exchange reserves only after ending corruption. China apprehended and jailed 400 ministers only on corruption charges and that is why it was a leading economy of the world today, the Prime Minister said while speaking at a function organised to showcase 100-day performance of the Punjab government here yesterday. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, ministers, bureaucrats, party workers and media men were present on the occasion.

The prime minister rejected Opposition’s allegation of political victimisation as a drama, saying no case against any Opposition member has been framed by the PTI government. He said the government is committed to ending corruption and the Opposition pressure for halting this process is not acceptable. Uprooting corruption is a matter of safety of Pakistan and the coming generations and the poor, he said amid prolonged applause by the audience.

As to FIA cases of fake bank accounts, Imran made it clear that they were framed way back in 2015 when the PML-N was in power and the then government did not take further action on them due to the 2006 Charter of Democracy between the two parties. He said the caretakers had reopened these cases and the PTI had played simply no role in it.

The prime minister was displeased with the appointment of Shehbaz Sharif as Chairman Public Accounts Committee of the NA, and said he allowed him chairmanship to take over this post after the Opposition had threatened to not let the Assembly perform its functions till the demand was met. “It is quite funny that a person who is in custody on corruption charges is chairing the accountability committee.”

Alluding to the former rulers, the premier said, when in power they had looted national wealth and now they wanted to use the parliament’s forum to protect their ill-gotten money. “This will not happen under the PTI rule,” he vowed and added, it is next to impossible that he will step back on taking action against the corrupt.

The prime minister also said that all civil cases will be decided within one year. He said after KP, amendment in the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) is also being introduced in Punjab. “All civil cases will be decided within a year. As long as 30/30 years pass but cases remain undecided and we are going to end this practice,” he added.

He also announced to legislate on police reforms that will aim at depoliticising this institution and building public confidence in the police persons. Next, he said about bringing agriculture reforms for lifting financial status of farmers by facilitating them in increasing productivity of the yields. The farmers will be put on the modern day agricultural methods and the small growers will be given priority in this regard.

Imran said investors are willing to come to Pakistan and coming days are very bright for the country.

He said Exxon oil drilling company is assessing availability of gas in Pakistan and hopefully good news in this regard will come in April. He said if gas was discovered, it would cater to our needs for next 50 years. April will be good for gas and exports of the country, he added.

 

Will show India how to treat religious minorities

 

Imran Khan also vowed to ensure equal rights to the minorities in Pakistan unlike India, where, he added, Muslims as minority are facing the same predicament which our founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had apprehended before the partition and moved to get a separate homeland for the Muslims.

The PM said the Holy Prophet (SAW) also framed a constitution with the Christians wherein he said Muslims will protect their places of worship till the doomsday.

“We have to tell India that how they provide for their minorities and how we do.”

He said it is pity that the last government left the province burdened with debts of Rs1140 billion and had also spent the provident funds of Rs102 billion of the civil servants. The PML-N government made Rs365 billion cut in the development fund of South Punjab and kept that part of the province under constant deprivation. They took loans for Orange and Metro projects which was a burden on the economy.

Imran said deprivations and injustices had led to separation of East Pakistan. “And these are the evils that weaken the state and provide room to the enemy to play their game. We have to guard ourselves against this situation,” he said, recalling the enthusiasm he had witnessed among Bengalis after he had won the match against India in Dhaka in 1989.

He said equitable distribution of funds in rural and urban areas is the motto of the PTI government which will not only address deprivations but also check urbanization. Therefore, equal development of every part of the province is the present government’s priority.

He also appreciated CM Sardar Buzdar terming him an upright and dead honest ‘who did not have ambition to amass assets, loot public money and take it abroad’. “I wonder how the nation tolerated the politicians who ruled Pakistan but kept their money, property and did business abroad yet they invited others to come to Pakistan and invest. Who will trust such politicians,” he asked.

He said anti-encroachment drive in Punjab retrieved land worth 171 billion while it was worth Rs350 billion in Islamabad. He wondered why a similar action had not been taken in the past.

He also mentioned about turning the PM House into a research university and said “You will see that your prime minister is going far ahead of it.”

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said time has come to realise dream of PM Imran Khan of making a new Pakistan. He said his doors are open to everyone and efforts are being made to improve the performance of every department. He said in the last 100 days, decades-old status quo maintained by old leadership has been shattered.

He said the CM office is not only an honour but also a challenge because expectations of people are very high, problems are multiple and resources limited. But we are determined to deliver, and serve the people more than their expectations. “I, my colleagues and my team have worked without any break and we are successful in putting Punjab in the right direction.”

The chief minister said executive committees have been formed at federal and provincial level to honour the promise of creation of South Punjab province. In the first phase, independent secretariat will start functioning from July 1, 2019.

For the first time in the history of the province, indiscriminate action against encroachments has been launched and more than 100,000 acres of land retrieved in the first 100 days. He said the prime minister understands problems of the people and he had conceived the idea of panahgah (shelter homes) for the homeless people. We will set up similar shelter homes in all 36 districts in phases. The chief minister said a revolutionary local government system is being introduced in the province and, for the first time in history, 30 per cent of development funds will be transferred to local government institutions. While the committee on police reforms has started its work, the new law of DRC will be presented in the assembly soon. Practical steps have been started to provide homes to the people under the PM’s housing scheme ‘ApnaGhar’ and the process  of giving interest-free loans up to Rs half a million has been started with the collaboration of Akhuwat. The Punjab Skill Development Authority has been set up to accomplish the promise of proving livelihood to the people and four technical universities are also being set up. The new industrial policy has been approved under which eight new economic zones will be set up due to which more than 1.2 million youth will get jobs. He said new labour policy 2018 is being introduced for the welfare and protection of rights of labourers. The PTI government is also introducing first tourism policy in Punjab. New agriculture and livestock policies have also been framed for Punjab. Small dams will be constructed to protect water reserves. CM Usman Buzdar said the provision of health facilities is the priority of 100 days plan. The scope of the Insaaf Health Cards will be extended to whole of the province after its operationalisation in 17 districts. As many as 9,000 posts of doctors, women medical officers and nurses have been filled. Five mother and child healthcare centres will be set up.

The chief minister said the Nishtar 2 project in Multan will be launched soon. New education policy in Punjab titled ‘’ New Deal for Schools 2018-23’’ has been introduced under which work to improve the quality of learning and teaching has started. Reforms for higher education have been finalised. The PTI government has also won the credit of posting more and more women on administrative posts in Punjab. We are introducing the project of clean drinking water in villages and cities for which a separate authority is being set up. Under Clean and Green Punjab, about 12.5 million plants have been planted in 100 days, while 1.9 million plants have been planted through Forest Department. Under the five- year plantation plan, more than 4.6 million plants will be planted. He said the pilot project of Zero Waste Punjab has been launched. “I personally supervise CM Complaint Cell and we have redressed 50,000 complaints regarding Punjab under the PM Pakistan Citizen Portal”.

An annual sports calendar is being prepared for the promotion of sports in Punjab under which sports events will be organised at every level. New cultural policy has been formed first time in Punjab and work on Alhmra School of Performing Art has been started. The Artist Health Insurance is also being introduced and a proposal of setting up of Sufi university in Punjab is also being reviewed. We have decided to hold horse and cattle show in a unique way again. The chief minister said the Advisory Council for Good Governance has been set up first time in Punjab. As many as 14,000 km long roads from farms to markets will be constructed under the CM Rural Roads Program. The important roads in Punjab will be constructed in phases under public-private partnership and 11 important roads have been earmarked for this purpose. The PTI government will enact record legislation first time in the history. More than 31 laws are in the process of approval while some of them have been presented in the assembly for approval and the remaining will be presented in the next sessions. He said the PTI government believes in the religious tolerance as per Islamic traditions and Minorities Empowerment Package is being prepared for minorities. The Punjab government has taken concrete measures for peace. New police training institutions are being set up in three cities to give modern training to police. The system of self-accountability has been introduced in Punjab Police under which more than 5,000 police officers and officials have faced disciplinary action. The Punjab government has taken effective measures to control power theft. Indiscriminate action has been taken against power thieves.

The 100-day plan is roadmap of destination, said the chief minister.

Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bukht told the participants that next month the government is going to announce a five-year economic package. He said initially the government plans to take provincial growth to seven per cent and to double digit by the end of term.

In the last 100 days, he said, we have increased the budget of health and education and laid foundation of an economic structure wherein nucleus is the agriculture. He vowed to spend every penny of the tax payers to the benefit of the masses. He also announced to provide facilities to the local business community and ease out investment through one window operation.

 

No compromise on accountability: PM