While recounting his government’s pro-poor initiatives like health insurance card, shelter homes and housing loans, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday the journey to transform Pakistan into a welfare state had begun.
Addressing a gathering here on the occasion of ground-breaking ceremony of Hafizabad University and a 400-bed District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) for the city, the prime minister expressed his resolve that his government would uplift all areas that had been neglected in the past.
Earlier, accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Member of the National Assembly Shaukat Bhatti and other party leaders, the prime minister unveiled plaques of the development projects.
He announced that the Punjab government had decided to extend health insurance facility to 50 percent of the provincial population by the current year end and whole of the province by next year.
The Sehat Insaf Card facility, he said, would give a confidence to the low-income groups for having an insurance cover of Rs 1 million for medical treatment of a family at public and private hospitals.
“This is happening first time in the history of the country. Even the developed countries do not have such a facility as being provided to the people of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” the prime minister remarked.
He said the initiative would also lead to the development of private hospitals’ network across the two provinces because the people with the insurance facility would be confidently visiting the private hospitals for medical treatment.
He said besides building shelter homes for the government had also launched the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme to make the banks give easy loan to low-income people for building their own homes.
These loan would be available at only 5 percent mark-up rate, he added.
“Many people had been talking of ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan’ (food, clothing and shelter), but now for the first time, they (poor) will get home,” he remarked.
The prime minister said the uniformed education curriculum would provide opportunities to students of government schools and seminaries to become doctors and engineers equal to those from any private institute.
He said the KP people re-elected the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with a two-third majority because the pro-poor initiatives had reduced poverty from 27 to 18 per cent in the terror-hit region where the businesses had been relocated and factories were closed down.
Reiterating his dream to alleviate poverty from across the country, Imran Khan said as soon as Pakistan became a welfare state, it would emerge as a great nation.
Calling the public gatherings of opposition’s alliance a “circus”, the prime minister said despite having looted the country for 30 years, they desired to continue enjoying privileges instead of facing accountability.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he said, acted as subservient to the opposition leaders in the past but the incumbent government made it to work independently. Due to the very reason, the opposition blackmailed the government on economic crisis, COVID-19 and even on the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) related legislation just to get NAB abolished, he added.
“Should I let them go? Do you feel pity for them?” the prime minister asked the audience. People responded: “No”.
He assured the charged crowd that he would never pardon them until they paid back the nation’s looted money.
Having failed to pressure the government, he said, the opposition resorted to target the judiciary, the Army Chief, and the Inter-Services Intelligence director general, which was tantamount to instigating a coup within the institutions.
He said the conspirators like “Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq” of the past, and Mir Ayaz Sadiq would be made accountable before law. As the crowd chanted “diesel diesel” (term referred to JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman), the prime minister rubbished his (Maulana Fazl’s) criticism.
“Recalling the controversy of poll rigging in 2013 and 2018, the prime minister said the PTI government would ensure holding the history’s fairest polls in future as multiple measures like electronic voting and other were being taken.
He said the credit for introducing “neutral” umpires in cricket also went to him.
Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the PTI government was serving people with utmost honesty and sincerity. It was Imran Khan who had taught the people to demand their rights and raised voice against deep-rooted corruption, he added.