| Speaking to public on phone, Imran Khan says complete lockdown will increase hunger | Asks Sindh govt ‘never go for lockdown unless you have answers’ | Suggests schools should not be reopened unless all students, teachers are vaccinated
Pakistan should not take part in other’s war for money: PM Khan
Ruling elite destroys countries through their teeming corruption
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan while speaking to general public on phone on Sunday urged the citizens to fully adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ward off the looming threat of most contagious Delta variant coronavirus.
“How we can impose a lockdown on people who don’t have resources or food,” the Prime Minister said while referring to strict lockdown policy of the Sindh government. “We can’t enforce a lockdown on people who are hungry,” the premier said in response to question from a caller in the most popular live TV programme, “Aapka Wazir-e- Azam Aap kai Sath.”
“You can enforce partial lockdowns in areas where there’s an escalation in cases,” he said. The premier added that action could also be taken against wedding halls and restaurants, but only when they violate SOPs. “Moreover, schools can remain closed until students and staff are vaccinated,” the PM added. He further stated that the real solution is to get vaccinated. He said the 4th wave contains Indian variant of COVID-19 virus, which is very lethal as it spreads at a fast pace.
He said 60 to 70 percent spread of the contagion can be controlled by wearing face masks at crowded places. The Prime Minister said, so far, 30 million people were vaccinated and the government is making vigorous efforts to get rest of the population immunised at the earliest.
He said the government will ensure that there is no dearth of vaccine in the country. He, however, made it clear that the government would continue its strategy of smart lockdown instead of going for imposing blanket lockdown to protect economy and employment of the people.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has been regularly interacting with the public through this programme in which callers posed different queries regarding important national and global issues, raise their issues and give suggestions. He said through prudent decisions, the government had saved 220 million people from the debilitating effects of previous coronavirus waves with scientific decisions and valuable guidance and input provided by the NCOC.
The prime minister also thanked nation for extending cooperation during the pandemic. Mosques in the country kept opened during Ramazan ul Mubarak and the Ulema cooperated in implementation of SOPs.
The prime minister said wearing of masks could reduce coronavirus spread by 60 to 70 per cent.
“Where there is assembly of people, please do wear mask,” he added.
About the Sindh government decision of complete lockdown, the prime minister expressed the hope that the provincial government would fully consider its implications over the weaker segments of society especially the daily earners.
He said enforcing lockdown was a good decision as it would reduce its spread but the issue which should be considered whether such a decision could save the country, its people and economy. He observed that imposing complete lockdown would increase hunger. “Never go for lockdown unless you have answers for these issues,” he maintained.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also said that a corrupt society could not make progress whereas those countries made economic strides that had eliminated this curse from their societies. The prime minister said there was rule of law in the prosperous countries. “Corruption at the low level did not bankrupt a country, it has always been the ruling elite that ruined the countries through their teeming corruption,” he added.
He said in order to save their skins, the corrupt junta would first weaken the anti-graft bodies, resulting in the destruction of a country. The UN secretary general formed a fact-finding panel as to why the poor countries were miring in poverty, he said, adding, the panel submitted a report indicating that about 1000 billion dollars were being siphoned off from the poor countries to the rich countries through money laundering tactics by the powerful and corrupt ruling elite.
The prime minister further termed government’s efforts against corruption and for the rule of law as ‘the biggest Jihad.’ He said there would be no two separate sets of laws for the powerful and for the poor.
The prime minister asked the people to fully cooperate with the government in this regard as they wanted to make the people free from the clutches of injustices.
“We want the country to stand on its feet. It should not seek loans or beg for assistance, and should not take part in the other’s war in return for money,” he added. The prime minister said they wanted the nation to become self-reliant.
“It is the fight for the future of Pakistan and fight for the rule of law. We are striving for the rule of law for the future of our generations,” he stressed. The prime minister said the powerful corrupt elements wanted NRO and wanted deal as the one extended by Musharraf. Such elements had been blackmailing that otherwise, they would pull down the government. The prime minister referred to chaotic situation in South Africa where authorities took action over Zuma’s corruption, their former ruler. He opined that in the Western democracy, an accused could not resist accountability.
The prime minister responding to a question, further referred to British rule of Indo-Pak, as they took away about 24 GDP of Mughal Empire with them swelling their coffins.
The two families had accumulated pelf through corruption. For the first time in the country’s history, NAB had arrested the powerful people, he added.
He said that the first principle in the Riasat-e-Madina was the rule of law where even the Caliphs were answerable to ordinary people. The prime minister said in the initial stages, Muslims faced hardships in Madina, but later they achieved remarkable successes and became the world leaders.
He said his government was striving to introduce such a system of public welfare and rule of law in the country.
The prime minister also regretted that the past rulers had ruined government entities like PTV, WAPDA and others through nepotism and political inductions. The result of political inductions added to ballooning of pension bill as the budget allocated for different entities went to payment of pensions. So the institutions could not work for the achievement of the purpose for which they had been created, he observed.
The prime minister referred to Pakistan Steel Mills which was closed after running into huge losses due to corruption, mismanagement and political inductions by the previous rulers.
The prime minister said that his government would review such scenario.
‘Promotion of sports’
To a question, regarding promotion of sports activities, the prime minister said he had been familiar with the sports as he could have ‘triple PhD’ in this arena but regretted that he could not focus on sports as the government was busy in addressing other burning economic issues.
He said once country’s hockey and cricket teams were among the world’s top teams. In the squash, Pakistan produced two giants, Jehangir Khan and Jan Shair Khan who dominated the arena for long.
But the subsequent corrupt rulers shamelessly looted and plundered resources and destroyed the institutions. In sports, they placed their blue eyed in different departments, he opined.
“On the other hand, different countries make their sports more competitive with innovative training and new techniques and they have professionals at the helms of affairs,” he added. He referred to New Zealand, a country with 4 or 5 million population that defeated one of the most populous country India in the world cup test series. The prime minister expressed the resolve to fully focus on promotion of sports in the country by bringing professionals at the top. However, he added that the rotten system would take some time.
He stressed that playgrounds should be constructed at the union council level to nurture the young talent.
Replying to a caller, Imran Khan said Ehsaas Programme is being expanded and data of entire Pakistan has been compiled for the purpose and direct subsidy would be provided to 40 percent people by December this year.
‘Noor Makadam murder case’
Regarding a question about gruesome murder of Noor Makadam, the Prime Minister said he is personally following this matter and assured the nation that culprits will not be allowed to escape the law. He termed the incident as tragic saying that irrespective of the citizenship or influence of the culprit, he will have to face the law. To a caller, he said due focus will be given to promote sports culture in the country in next two years of his government.
Responding to a call made by renowned journalist Habib Akram, the Prime Minister said the government believes in freedom of expression as constructive criticism is a blessing for a vibrant society. Talking about adverse impact of climate change, he advised the people to plant at least one sapling in this monsoon season.
‘Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project’
The Prime Minister said the government has launched the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project to provide a healthy environment to our future generations. Imran Khan said no attention was given to prepare master plans of cities; instead we ruined the only planned city of Pakistan, the federal capital of the country.
He said now we are focusing on vertical construction to protect environment and to contain unplanned spread of cities.
Prime Minister said the idea of Ravi Urban City is aimed at protecting the River Ravi and green areas.
He said the government is working on setting up of three treatment plants to provide clean water to the residents of Lahore.
‘Azad Kashmir elections’
Responding to opposition’s allegations of rigging in recently held Azad Kashmir elections and by-polls in Sialkot, Imran Khan said elections in AJK were held under PML-N-led government then how it is possible to rig the polls.
He said use of Electronic Voting Machine is the only way forward to address allegations of rigging, but it is unfortunate that the opposition is not cooperating with the government in this regard.
The Prime Minister also expressed the resolve to give voting rights to overseas Pakistanis saying that every possible effort will be made to include the nine million expats into the voting process.
Answering a question regarding power outages, the Prime Minister said the government is investing in the transmission lines and hopefully soon will overcome this problem.
Replying to a caller, Imran Khan said ten new water reservoirs, including two large dams, will be constructed in next 10 years to store water for irrigation so that the country can become self-sufficient in food and other agricultural items.
Responding to a caller query about government’s steps to make Pakistan a true replica of the state of Madina, Imran Khan said universal health coverage is being extended to all the provinces and areas where PTI is in power, to every citizen under which one can get medical treatment upto one million rupees.
He said so far 22 shelter homes have been established across Pakistan and now 11 more will soon be established to provide free shelter and food to the poor people.
The Prime Minister said mobile food trucks are providing meals to the people under government’s initiative ‘Koi Bhooka Na Soye.”
Besides, soft loans are also being provided to the poor people for construction of their houses.
The Prime Minister said technical education scheme to teach skills and impart vocational training to common people will soon be launched in the country.