By Agha Iqrar Haroon
I believe Prime Minister Imran Khan has every right to complete his parliamentary tenure of five years because voters elected him for five years by giving votes to his slogans of eliminating corruption in the first 90 days after coming into power, placing new local bodies system within the first six months of his government, conducting an impartial inquiry of Model Town incident in which PML (N) led government allegedly order to kill innocent citizens including women, formation of the new province out of South Punjab, bringing money of corrupt politicians back to home from abroad, construction of five million low-cost houses, providing 10 million jobs for youth and introducing of better policing and elimination of poverty through the above-mentioned plan.
This is not fair not to give him the rest of 17 months of his tenure because he needs these 17 months to fulfill his promises. I am against removing any prime minister, assemblies, or the government before their constitutional tenure.
Prime Minister Khan is working day and night to fulfill the promises he had with a nation in his first speech as prime minister. I am sharing his first speech to show you how much he is focused to achieve his set and promised targets. Today’s fragile economic conditions are not the outcome of his governance because he mentioned in his first speech that Pakistan had borrowed 28,000 billion till 2018 and now the figure stands at 38,700 billion at the end of the 2021 fiscal year. He was right to mention that Pakistan was burdened with a loan of Rs 28000 billion in 2018, while 10 years ago (in 2008), the loan of Pakistan was Rs. 6 thousand billion, that our debt in the 60 years history. Rs. 6 thousand billion increased up to Rs 15,000 billion in 2013. And (in 2018) this loan had reached Rs 28,000 billion. Now in the last three years, there is an over 10,000 billion increase in this loan but this increase is not due to PM Khan’s governance rather due to the bad governance of previous governments.
I am sure that Pakistan is no more among the top 5 countries in the world where children die because of malnutrition resulting in stunted growth and PM Khan’s government has been given extra care to this issue that he raised in his first speech to the nation as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. We should also remember that he has taken practical measures to convert Prime Minister House and Governor Houses into educational institutions and soon they would open for the public and for students. We must support him for the vision and hard work he has been given to ensure a better future for this country.
I am sure in the next 17 months he would fulfill all promises he made with the nation therefore, he must be allowed to stay in power.
It looks Prime Minister Imran Khan is confident to fulfill all promises he made with the nation in the next 17 months that he could not realize in the last 45 months due to corrupt politicians of previous governments. Therefore, I believe that a Vote of No Confidence moved by the opposition is actually an attempt to hamper the prosperity that the nation is waiting for. If we could have US citizen Mueen Qurashi and administratively borrowed Shukat Aziz as prime ministers, why should we not give another 17 months to a sitting Prime Minister?
To understand his excellent performance and the challenges he has been facing, we need to read his first speech to the nation that is hereunder:
First of all, I want to thank all my workers who started with me in this movement and jihad 22 years ago. There are two types of politics one in which one would do his pursue his career, and the second, my role model, Qa’eda-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who conducted politics for a mission, that our prophet Hazrat Muhammad brought revolution in the world’s history by creating state of Madinah. I never thought of this politics as a career and profession. 22 years ago I joined politics with the mission to make my country, that way made as an Islamic welfare state envisioned by Allama Muhammad Iqbal which have been showcased in the comity of nations that what is real Islam.
I am remembering those colleagues, especially those two who started with me, Ahsan Rasheed, and Saloni Bukhari, they joined me in this mission at the beginning and are no more in this world.I pay tributes to the workers, who walked with me even during difficult times, who were teased , people used to argue with them that which tonga party they are associated with.
Thanks to all these workers. Without all these people I could not reach here today. First of all, I put it in front of my people that where we stand today and what challenges we are facing as a nation. I will also give solution of these challenges. In the history of Pakistan economic conditions were not as bad as are today.
28,000 BILLION LOAN
Presently, Pakistan is burdened with a loan of Rs 28000 billion, while 10 years ago, the loan of Pakistan was Rs. 6 thousand billion, that our debt in the 60 years history. Rs. 6 thousand billion increased up to Rs 15,000 billion in 2013. And today this loan has reached Rs 28,000 billion. Debt of 60 years of domestic history is on one side and the last 10 years loan is on the other. InshaAllah, we will bring facts before you where that money has gone. What have been done with that money? Secondly, today we are borrowing money to pay the interest n those loans.
In the last year of the previous PPP government foreign debt was $ 2 billion, in the past one year, we are borrowing $ 2 billion each month and when the Pakistan People’s Party government ended in 2013 our foreign debt went to 60 billion, which is $95 billion today and that is the real problem of our country that our overseas debt has increased so much and the main reason for the highest pressure on rupees is that ours Foreign loans grew so fast and we have reached today that we are facing difficulty to return back those loans. I will also come up with the solution as to how to resolve this issue. No need to be afraid of this situation.
ON CHILDREN’S HEALTH
The second thing I want to tell you is that there are so many loans on us and second I want to tell you that on the other hand there exists a society around us that spends on humans and now I want t ell you what is the condition of human beings here and this is not ( juts being said by)Imran Khan, but it is a report of UNDP.
According to this report Pakistan is among those 5 countries in which most of our children die before the age of 5 due to diseases caused by contaminated water. Pakistan is also included in top 5 countries of the world where the rate of female mortality is very high.
Unfortunately, we are among the top 5 countries in the world where children die because of malnutrition resulting in stunted growth. I have been telling people till today, but people have not understood.
Today I show you a picture that shows a 2-year-old child on one side who is is getting nourishing food, and has normal mental healthl and on the other hand, a child of 2 years has been shown with insufficient diet. His brain has not been growing completely.
We are talking about 45 percent of Pakistan’s children, that is, almost every other Pakistani child, suffers from this disease. I am worried because we are not able to give them food completely and they are not getting nutrition too, and thus they have left behind in the race of life. They can not compete.They can not move forward in the 21st century. What were feelings of parents of those children I am telling you just to make you realize that where are we standing in this regard and how we will change our way Insha Allah.
‘WE HAVE TWO PATHS’
The Prime Minister stated that there are two paths in front of us, one which we have been following and reached here, nation in debt, which has no money to spend on its children, to raise the standard of living of its people, to help its farmers, which cannot provide clean drinking water to its citizens even children.
We cannot give jobs, debts are on the rise, on the other hand is the path of which I will tell you how to reach.
LIFESTYLE OF THOSE IN POWER
Another shameful thing for us is that on the one hand are these conditions and on the other, is the life style of those in power.
He said Pakistan’s Prime Minister has 524 workers, 80 cars, of which 33 are bullet proof. The price of each is more than Rs.5 crore; helicopters, aeroplanes; the Prime Minister House is spread over 1100 canals, we have Governor Houses, Rest Houses, Chief Ministers’ Houses they have cars, Secretaries 100 have 2/3 cars. Our D.Cs, Commissioners reside in large residences.
On one hand is the nation in debt which cannot spend on its citizens and on the other hand are those in power who live as the Britishers lived during their rule. They, like our rulers, built huge Governor Houses. We were (their) slaves then, but now that we are free we continue to live in the same manner.
We are not worried that we cannot meet the basic needs of our people, look at our life style. Just consider that the Prime Minister spent 65 crores on his foreign tours. Why do they go abroad? Where does this money go? The budget of Speaker National Assembly was 16 crores; what do they do? are they going to conquer some country.
Today I am presenting all these things in front of you, because I want you to realize that if we continue thus, we are heading towards disaster. Allah also says in the Quran that he does not change the condition of a nation if it does not make an effort itself – We will have to change our thinking. We will have to invoke kindness in our hearts as half our population cannot even get 2 times meals. We cannot feed 45% of Pakistan’s children. If we do not change our way of thinking what will become of our 2.5 billion out of school children. If our population continues to increase and we cannot educate our children then obviously they will not be able to get livelihood, if conditions remain so, who will solve the water issue.
We are faced with another problem that is environmental change. Pakistan is 7th among countries affected by this phenomenon. I will again ask you to change.
ONE ROLE MODEL
There is only one role model who we all Muslims follow and Allah in the Quran too asks us to learn from his life. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) united the pagan Arabs Tribes who used to fight with each other – They had 2 super powers on either side – Romans and Persians.
This great leader brought together these warring tribes and within the span of few years transformed them into a great nation. What were those elements? I would like to share with you which ever nation follows those principles rises. These are the principles adopted by the West – rule of law, protects weak against the powerful – A civilization that adopts these principles rises (among nations).
The Prophet said that he would punish even his daughter, if she broke the law. Hazrat Ali lost a case to a Jewish citizen, in the Court. This shows that all are equal in the eyes of law and minorities have equal rights. The Prime Minister mentioned Zakat – money paid according to position. The concept of progressive taxation is present even in the West – Norway, Sweden, Denmark. Provision of education to poor, justice are principles which were present in the State of Madina. Hazrat Umar one said that he would be responsible even if a dog went to sleep hungry.
A leader should be Sadiq and Ameen. This is in America and Britian – The American President was ousted for lying. In Madina, all Khulfa were honest and trustful. They presented themselves for accountability. Once Hazrat Umar was asked about his clothes, which means that even rulers were accountable to public. When Hazrat Abu Bakr become Khalifa, he closed down his clothes’ shop as he realized that his being in thatposition will be disadvantageous for his counterparts.
Such laws are present in the West but have we can compare what those who come to power had and what they have. These people come only to make money. But this is not so in the West. Those democracies which have progressed do not allow such practices i.e to mint money when in power. This was the law in practice in the State of Madina, 1400 years ago. After war of Badr, the Prophet gave emphasis on education.
When he said that every slave who would educate 10 salves would be set free. Telling the world that without education nations cannot progress. But look at us, our 2.5 billion children are out of school. The West is spending a lot on education, the principles which were made 1400 years ago in Madina are in practice in the West but not by us. We are not following any of the principles for which this country was made. It was not established for the reason that hindus were moneyed or now Muslims have a lot, but it was the vision of Allama Iqbal who I consider to be the greatest Muslim in 500 years, we will put into practice the principles on which the Prophet built his State.
Let me show you what we will do now. I was told that I cannot become Captain or a bowler, hospital cannot be made, and University cannot be established in private sector in rural area, there cannot be a third party in the two-party system. I have been hearing this throughout my life, but I have learnt to fight such challenges. You all will be my team; I will fight against these things.
I will not live in PM house but in these two the 3 bedroom Military Secretary’s House. Will use 2 servants and 2 vehicles two on account of security considerations.
I had wanted to stay in my own house to cut government expenses but am going to reside here as there are threats to my life according to security agencies We will auction the vehicles. Businessmen will be invited to purchase these expensive vehicles. The money will be deposited in the national treasury. I plan to introduce simplicity in all Governor and Chief Minister Houses.
We will reduce expenditure and inform public accordingly. No Governor will stay in Governor Houses. A Committee of has been formed to decide their fate. I intend to convert Prime Minister House into a Research University where reputable scholars will be called.
A Task Force under guidance of Dr. Ishrat Hussain which will ensure austerity in every department.
‘WE HAVE TO STAND ON OUR OWN FEET’
I want to state that we have this habit of asking foreign countries for loans, wish any qualms. Our leaders ask for money from one or the other, IMF – No country can proper in this way.
Loans are for a short time. Germany and Japan after world war took loan for a particular time and eventually were able to stand on their own felt. We have to stand on our own feet. Things cannot continue like this anymore, besides others are not willing to provide loans.
I asked for money for Shaukat Khannum from my countrymen. It will be shameful for me and you if I ask some other country for money. A nation which has self respected is respected by others. Pakistanis are after made to one while other nationals easily pass (through immigration at airports).
It is unfortunate. It is our own fault not others. He said it was unfortunate that only 800,000 people of 200 million pay taxes and resolved to revive the public trust in the Federal Board of Revenue to ensure spending of people’s tax money on their own.
The Prime Minister advised the people to pay taxes religiously as tax evaders did nothing but to hurt the country and burden the poor. He announced to constitute a high-powered task force to ensure the repatriation of money stashed abroad through money laundering or other illegal means.
He quoted a US State Department’s report saying the black money worth Rs 1,000 billion was transferred abroad annually from Pakistan. He urged the masses not to elect a leader running businesses abroad and questioned as to how a person could be loyal to Pakistan and his people while having his own interests in other countries.
PM announced that his government would take all-out measures to uplift national industry to boost exports, besides facilitating the SME sector and investors through one-widow operations. He said he would direct the embassies to find out Pakistani expatriates languishing in jails abroad and reasons behind their imprisonment so that they could be helped out. He urged the overseas Pakistanis to invest their money in Pakistan or deposit in US dollar accounts as the country direly needed the same to address the imbalance of payment.
He also urged them to send their remittances through banks to help the country in the trying time. To cleanse the country of corruption, he said the National Accountability Bureau would be strengthened by extending all-out assistance and funding. Moreover, the government would also introduce whistleblowers act across the country as it had done in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to award the informers of any embezzlement of public money.
The prime minister said he would keep the portfolio of Interior ministry with him to deal with the issues of money laundering and those related to the Federal Investigation Agency. He said following the crackdown by the government, those involved in corrupt practices would make hue and cry, and propaganda of imperiling the democracy.
“But you should stand by me. Either the country will survive or the corrupt people,” he resolved.
Imran said in order to reform the judicial system and ensure speedy disposal of civil cases within a year, the government would amend the law and requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan to hear the cases involving widows on priority. He said the government would also send lawyers’ teams to prisons to know about the ordeals of poor prisoners as in some cases the poor people languished in jails just for not affording to hire counsel.
The prime minister said his government was keen and committed to bring about police reforms in other provinces with the help of respective provincial governments just like the PTI-led government had introduced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He said the PTI registered triumph in the general election in KP due to the reason that its government had made the police force to function on professional lines.
He credited former inspector general of police Nasir Durrani for making the reforms feasible in the province. He said Durrani had agreed to accept an advisory role for bringing about the much needed reforms in the Punjab police. The federal government would also work with the Sindh government in that regard.
STRICT ACTION OVER CHILD ABUSE CASES
He stated with regret about the rise in the child-abuse cases and referred to the heinous incident in Kasur. He dropped a hint that his government would take strict action over such cases while the Ministry of Human Rights would focus on it.
IMPROVEMENT IN EDUCATION SECTOR
About reforms in the education sector, Imran Khan said efforts would be made to improve the education standards in the government schools where the situation was not satisfactory.
He said he knew how salaried people managed to send their children to private institutions to get quality education with their meager resources and by doing dual jobs. Prime Minister Imran stressed that they would have to raise standard of education in the government schools and deal with the issue of 22.5 million children out of school.
The proposal for running the dual shifts in the government schools was also under consideration, he added. He said the children studying in Madaris should also get the quality education and should be afforded opportunities to excel in different fields of life.
IMPROVE CONDITIONS OF GOVT HOSPITALS
About his other priority, he said a task force would be formed to improve the conditions in government-run hospitals. He acknowledged that in the government hospitals, bringing about swift reforms was a difficult task, however, the government was determined to take drastic steps in other provinces as it had taken in the KP.
All the countrymen would be given the facility of Sehat Insaf Card in the shape of free medical services of up to Rs 500,000 at government and private health institutions like the one already introduced in the KP.
AGRICULTURE AND WATER ISSUE
He noted that the country was facing the water scarcity issues, which were impacting the rural areas and the agriculture sector. He underscored the importance of imparting proper and adequate knowledge to farmers about the use of the latest agriculture technologies, so that their crop yield could be increased without burdening them financially.
He also highlighted the importance of agri-research, besides proper water rationalizing by the famers’ community. The prime minister maintained that the construction of Bhasha Dam was must to face the emerging water related problems. He also lauded the Chief Justice of Pakistan for taking the initiative in that regard.
The government, he said, would support all efforts to collect funds for the construction of dam with the help of expatriates.
Regarding the role of civil servants in running the government affairs and accomplishment of its policies, the prime minister hinted that he would re-introduce the merit policy. He regretted that the political interferences and lack of merit policy had impinged upon the functioning of the civil service, which was once regarded as the backbone of the country.
The civil service required reformation, he said and assured that there would be no interference from the PTI government. The honest and dedicated people would be accorded due respect and protection no matter whatsoever they had the political affiliations, he added.
The prime minister reiterated that ordinary man should be treated equally in the society and given the due rights. He referred to Right to Public Service Act of KP, where bonuses were announced for the departments who delivered on time whereas the others, who failed to achieve the targets, were penalized.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM
PM Imran said the local government system introduced in the KP had transferred powers to the grassroots level and the same would now be would be strengthened across the country.
He said plans were afoot in which the district nazims would be elected directly, so that there should be checks and balances. Giving an example of the Punjab province, he said in the past, all resources were accumulated in office of chief minister, and the MNAs and MPAs were given the development funds.
The prime minister also unveiled his plans to construct five million low cost housing units which would create immense job opportunities for the youth as at least 50 industries would be directly benefitted from such investment.
He said energies would be devoted on skill development of the youth, besides, provision of interest free loans so that they could set up their personal businesses.
RECREATION AND SPORTS ACTIVITIES
About the role of games in the lives of youth, the prime minister said sports facilities with proper playgrounds would be constructed for the youth across the country.
For the families’ recreation, parks with all facilities would be provided.
The prime minister also noted with concern the issue of global warming which was affecting the country. The government would kick-start a massive tree plantation campaign all over the country to turn Pakistan green, and in that campaign, the youth would be involved.
He also enumerated the environmental challenges posed by air and water pollution. He mentioned Karachi and Lahore which were affected with air pollution, besides facing the recurring issue of garbage dunes.
He said campaigns would be launched to clean sea and environment which was one of his major targets. The prime minister expressed the confidence that after five years, there would be a different Pakistan.
He said Pakistan was bestowed with huge tourism potential as he was one among few Pakistanis who had toured the country thoroughly. He announced that every year, four new tourist resorts would be opened to promote tourism industry.
He especially mentioned the tourism potential of sea beaches and said Karachi and Gwadar beaches would be developed.
DEVELOPMENT OF NEGLECTED AREAS
The prime minister said the government would fast track the merger of tribal areas with the KP to improve the living conditions in those areas which were hard hit by the militancy and terrorism in the past.
He said the local government elections would be arranged in those areas though it was not an easy task but there was no other way.
He also emphasized to develop the Balochistan province by bringing back all the estranged elements in the mainstream of life.
About the South Punjab province, he said it should be created. He also linked the country’s progress with the economic activities in Karachi and said for maintaining law and order there, the police reforms would be introduced with the support of the provincial government.
The prime minister said the 20-point National Action Plan as agreed upon by all the political parties would be fully implemented. There would be no national progress without peace and tranquility, he added. The prime minister maintained they would strive to improve relations with all the neighbouring countries.
‘A REAL WELFARE STATE’
He said it was his vision to make Pakistan ‘a real welfare state’ with full attention paid to pathetic conditions of street children, widows and the handicapped. Imran Khan said they had to differentiate between the human society and the life led by animals.
It was the human compassion, pity and sympathy which made it distinct from the animal world, he added. The prime minister laid stress upon emulating the principles as laid down by Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in the creation of Madina state.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) paid full attention to lift the conditions of his people, he added.
The prime minister resolved to lead a simple life marked with austerity and to fully safeguard the public money. He said he would not do any business while in office and called upon the people to identify and discourage those who stole away the public money.
He said the elements, who stashed away the public money, were also his enemies though he had no personal grudge against them. It was their collective responsibility to halt such elements, he said and referred to efficacy of the social media in that regard. The prime minister said they had to save the country by giving it a top priority.
‘PRIME MINISTER’S VISION’
He said it was his vision that one day would dawn upon the country when there would be no person to avail the Zakat money and it would be in a position to lend financial support to other deserving countries.