WANA/SPINKAI RAGZAI   -   Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the government would transform the erstwhile tribal areas and bring them at par with other regions with annual spending of Rs100 billion on development and by ensuring provision of health, education and other basic facilities.

Imran Khan vowed to bring the national wealth, looted and laundered abroad by some politicians, back to the country and never to offer any NRO to the corrupt leaders.

He made these announcements during his visit to different towns of South Waziristan, the former hotbed of militants.

Addressing the tribal elders in Spinkai Ragzai, Imran Khan said “I have always been raising my voice for the people of tribal areas, who  have faced many hardships and rendered sacrifices during the war against terrorism.”

The Prime Minister said the government would introduce Sehat Insaf Cards in erstwhile tribal areas including South Waziristan under which every family would have Rs720,000 at their disposal for medical treatment from any hospital. Besides, the government would appoint surgeons and specialists at hospitals, he added.

He further said that youth of erstwhile tribal areas would be provided interest-free loans to start their own businesses.

The Prime Minister on this occasion also announced the construction of 100 kilometres of roads in South Waziristan, two degree colleges - one each for boys and girls, upgradation of grid stations and sports complex.

He said the government would provide electricity to the people of far-flung areas through solar system projects, and construct small dams to address the issue of water in erstwhile tribal areas.

The Prime Minister said that no country could achieve progress and prosperity without justice and equality and ensuring the socio-economic uplift of its poor people and backward and neglected areas.

He said his idea of “Naya Pakistan” was actually transforming Pakistan into a welfare state - the dream of which was seen by great philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal and founder of nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The Prime Minister said it was Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) who established the first-ever welfare state in the world in the form of Riasat-e-Madinah.

It were the just principles of Madinah State - where poor, orphans, widows and old people were looked after by the state – that led to the fall of two big powers of Roman and Persian Empires in a short period of 17 to 19 years, and the rule of Muslims over the next 700 years, he added.

The Prime Minister asked the people to trust him by saying that ensuring the uplift of people and areas that had lagged behind over the last 70 years due to injustice done by the previous regimes, was his political philosophy, spanning over 22 years of struggle.

He said the previous rulers pushed Pakistan towards economic problems by raising the country’s debt from Rs6000 billion to Rs30,000 billion in ten years, adding Pakistan had to spend a huge amount of Rs2000 billion per year for debt servicing, out of its total revenue collection of around Rs4500 billion.

Addressing a huge public gathering at Wana, the main town of South Waziristan, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to bring the national wealth, looted and laundered abroad by some politicians, back to the country and never to offer any NRO to the corrupt leaders who had joined hands against him in the name of democracy.

Those, who had come together in the name of saving democracy, had only sole objective to pressurise him for getting a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and save themselves from the punishment for their corruption, loot and plunder, he said.

The prime minister said he wanted to give a message to all those people, including Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sharifs and others, who feared accountability that be it cricket or politics, his life was full of struggles and fights, and his main objective to join the politics was to hold the corrupt accountable. “Without punishing the corrupt, our country has no future,” he said and added those who came through political struggle did not have any fear of accountability.

The prime minister said he neither like Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had inherited the leadership nor like Nawaz Sharif was made chief minister by General Jilani.

He described Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as  the 12th man, who, he said, had already lost his wicket.

Imran Khan also presented a brief account of the economic difficulties being faced by the country and said the two political parties (PPP and PML-N) had pushed Pakistan into the debt trap during the last 10 years by increasing the loan from Rs6,000 billion in 2008 toRs 30,000 billion in 2018.

The corrupt politicians looted the country’s wealth and laundered it abroad, he said, adding “When the money is laundered abroad, it creates the shortages of dollar and leads to devaluation of local currency and inflation, which hits the common man.”

He said since her mother belonged to the Burki tribe he first visited South Waziristan 30 years back and also wrote a book on tribal areas. He was perhaps the first head of government in Pakistan, who knew well about the history, traditions and problems of the tribal people.

He lauded the bravery and patriotism of the people of South Waziristan, who, he said, always stood with the country’s forces in hard times, including the 1965 War. The people of the area had created many freedom fighters during the British rule.

Imran said he had opposed the deployment of troops in the erstwhile FATA on the desire of the United States after the 9/11 incident.

He lauded the people of South Waziristan for their sacrifices, including their displacement due to the war against terrorism.

The prime minister assured the people of South Waziristan that with the allocation of Rs100 billion per year for the development of tribal areas for ten years, which had already been agreed upon by all political parties, he would ensure the provision of compensation to the people who had lost their houses, businesses, lands and shops during the temporary displacement.

He said the people of South Waziristan would be provided with the facility of Sehat Insaf Card under which every family would have Rs720,000 per annum at their disposal to get free of charge medical treatment from any hospital.

Additionally under the Insaf Rozgar Scheme, he said, the youth of South Waziristan would be provided interest-free or soft loans to start their own businesses and earn respectable livelihoods.

He also announced two degree colleges – one each for girls and boys, besides the construction of a sports complex and playgrounds at various places of Wana.

Imran referred to the local government system introduced by the PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, also being implemented in Punjab, would be brought to the tribal areas so that the people got their issues resolved at village levels through Jirga or jury system.

He said he would make an announcement about making Wana as district within a week after consultations.