PESHAWAR - PTI Chairman Imran Khan yesterday said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had approved Rs 300 million for Darul Uloom Haqqania in its fiscal budget for the year 2016-17 only to bring it into the mainstream.

Speaking at a news conference here at the CM House on Sunday, he said bringing religious seminaries into the mainstream was part of the National Action Plan (NAP) and Madrassa Haqqania was one of the biggest seminaries in Pakistan where thousands of students were getting religious education. Backing the KP government’s decision, he said this step had been welcomed by many religions figures and seminaries.

“JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman would have certainly got funds for his religious seminaries during his five-year government. There should be no objection over giving funds to Darul Uloom Haqqania, headed by Maulana Sami-ul-Haq,” the PTI chief stated.

He recalled that during the General Musharraf regime, the US government had given $100 million to Pakistan to introduce reforms in seminaries, but the former president paid no attention to it, due to which the reforms policy remained inconclusive.

The PTI chairman regretted the allegations levelled by former Wapda chairman Shakeel Durrani against Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) and the PTI government. Instead of helping the KP government, Durrani started hatching conspiracies against energy projects in the province, he lamented.

Flanked by KP CM Pervez Khattak, Minister for Schools and Elementary Education Atif Khan, Adviser on Information to CM Mushtaq Ghani and Public Health Engineering Minister Shah Farman, Imran announced to launch the Health Insurance Card Scheme in the province. He said the scheme would benefit 1.8 million families in the entire province. Imran Khan revealed Rs 210,000 would be given to each family under this scheme. He said despite financial constraints, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had increased health budget from Rs 8 billion to Rs 20 billion, which showed its sincerity.

The PTI chief said the KP government had introduced exemplary reforms in the health sector, but some people were creating obstacles in the implementation of these reforms.

Speaking on this occasion, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said the government would utilise all available resources for the uplift of the health sector. He said the government had introduced reforms after consulting doctors and paramedical staff.

NNI adds from Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan yesterday said he had never sought any support from the army.

“I never needed any support from a general for political uplift,” Khan said in an interview with a private TV channel. “I treaded alone 20 years, I can go on alone for another 20 years,” the PTI chief said. “That is why I have no fear in ambling down the road alone. Yet I believe everyone must come out against corruption.”

To a question about the possible cooperation with PPP against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he said it was welcome to join PTI against corruption, adding every single person, including him, would be held accountable.

“PPP leaders should tell Bilawal that their politics will be buried if they choose to bail out Nawaz Sharif this time,” he warned. “The issue is beyond optics now. People like Aitzaz Ahsan and Qamar Zaman Kaira have perhaps enlightened Bilawal,” he said.

He said the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had signed his own political death warrant by supporting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“I’ve maintained that the PM must be held accountable first. I might as well be put on trial too, and then everyone else,” Khan went on to say.

He said, instead of holding the PM accountable, the entire state machinery was being used to save Sharifs' corruption. He alleged the NAB chairman had been brought for the purpose of saving the government corruption.

He said the vacuum created in the foreign policy area had to be filled by Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif who was compelled to sort out diplomatic relations.

“We should develop good relations with our neighbours, especially Afghanistan and Iran. Nawaz should have appointed a competent foreign minister instead of taking his son to meet Indian business tycoons,” he said.

Khan said Nawaz Sharif had retained the Foreign Office in his own hands. Irony is that he did not even know the meaning of foreign policy.

“Look at Narendra Modi’s reception in the countries which we regard as our friends, the US, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Look at our neighbours even. Indian market is independent and their foreign policy is independent. Just see Modi’s reception,” the PTI chief said, adding foreign policy depended upon domestic situation.

Defending funding to Darul Uloom Haqqania, he said it was also offered money for reforms in Musharraf's era.

“Our policy is to bridge the gap between 800,000 English medium school kids and 2.3 million seminary students,” he said.

“I am not running the KP government at micro level, but I can explain the party policy,” he clarified.