Three months important, ties with Army ideal: PM Khan


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the next three months are very important for the government, insisting inflation must be controlled.

He also emphasised that the government would complete its term of five years and asserted he faced no threat at all from the corruption-tainted opposition parties. In an interview to a local news channel, the prime minister sounded confident that his government would complete its five-year term with the support of allies and said he saw no threat at any level to his government.

The prime minister said that he enjoyed exemplary relations with the military leadership and when asked about giving extension to the Army Chief, he said he had not thought about it so far; what is the problem about it for the year just began, as November was still far away and when the time would come, the matter would be seen then.

Replying to another question about the opposition’s possible move of tabling a no-confidence motion against him, the premier contended that if they wanted to move confidence motion against him, they can do so.

The premier conceded that the biggest failure of his government was the lack of accountability. He pointed out that when the NAB would take corruption cases to the courts, then the matters were left with the courts. He added despite all the evidence, people were roaming free.

However, he sounded quite hopeful about the new investigation by FIA against leader of opposition Mian Shehbaz Sharif and wondered, who would not believe and deny that Shehbaz had not indulged in corruption. “I don’t think, now Shehbaz would not survive after the kind of evidence is found against him,” he said.

About the recent debacle of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the 17 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the local government elections, PM Imran said that the defeat in first phase of LG polls in the province had been extremely damaging. He believed that the defeat was due to the organizational structure. However, the prime minister said thankfully, PTI vote bank has not shrunk and remained intact. About the chances of his party in the local government elections in Punjab, he said that he was fully satisfied with the performance of Punjab government of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and noted that many of his good works were not being projected properly. He was confident PTI would perform very well in the LG polls in the province.

Speaking on rising inflation, the prime minister emphasized that the government needed to control it during the next three months. About Pakistan’s relations with China and the United States, he said that the relations with China were before the world but conceded that there had been pressure from the US and cited the IMF on this count. However, he was optimistic that the matters between Pakistan and the US were moving forward in a very good way.

During the meeting, he said that unused government land is being turned into valuable assets. “These projects aim at creating jobs and meeting the needs of the population,” he explained as he ordered the immediate removal of legal hurdles to attract investors.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said the government is fulfilling the promise of low-cost housing for the poor and middle class. He added for the first time in the history of the country, 12,400 low cost and standard flats are being provided to the slum dwellers of Islamabad.

PM Imran presided over a meeting of the National Coordinating Committee for Housing, Construction and Development here. The meeting was informed that KCDA and New Pakistan Housing Authority would provide subsidy for these flats, which would keep the monthly installments to a minimum. All civic amenities will be provided in these flats.

Premier Imran said an international standard cricket stadium will be built in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by federal ministers Shaukat Tarin, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan Niazi, Minister of State Farrukh Habib, Special Assistant Dr. Shahbaz Gill, SBP Governor, ministers of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, Khawaja Farooq, Chairman. New Pakistan Housing and Development Authority and senior officers participated in the meeting.

He emphasised that commercial buildings should be constructed on the basis of public-private partnership at government residences in expensive sectors of Islamabad. He noted loans of Rs38 billion have been provided to build houses.

The boundaries of all the cities of the country, he said, should be demarcated in order to prevent the rampant spread and to save the vegetation. He added there are ample opportunities for the promotion of tourism in Azad Jammu and Kashmir which should be taken advantage of.

He said strict laws should be enacted to curb illegal constructions in Azad Kashmir and quality and low cost housing for refugees from Occupied Kashmir should be constructed soon. The meeting was informed that on an average, the rate of borrowing from banks has increased significantly. In the last two weeks alone, additional loan applications of Rs6 billion have been received.

The meeting was informed that the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir would provide land worth Rs5.6 billion for the accommodation of refugees. In the first phase, houses will be provided to 1300 families.

PM Imran said all possible steps must be taken to protect forests and natural diversity. The meeting was informed that 63% of Azad Jammu and Kashmir consists of forests while 56.5% of the total area of Kashmir is government land. Land use mapping of 10 districts has been completed.

Meanwhile, he said urban development through modern real estate projects such as the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA), the Central Business District (CBD) Walton and the Nullah Leh Expressway are key priorities of the government and need to be expedited for its speedy completion. He expressed these views while presiding over a review meeting on RUDA and CBD.

“This is the first time in the history of the country that the dead capital in the form of unused government land is being turned into a valuable asset through these innovative projects. These projects will not only create employment opportunities but also a growing urban population. We will also meet the needs of the people,” he said.

Earlier, the prime minister was informed that the CBD had planned to generate revenue through auction of 07 mixed stand commercial plots in Lahore downtown. Also the construction of Burj Jinnah, Pakistan’s tallest skyscraper; Chapter Construction of two premium residential towers and 500-bed hospital in Pakistan; Construction of CBD Square and Walton Road Flyover; And building a classic aviation museum to preserve Walton Airport’s heritage is also part of the CBD’s goals.

In addition, development work on Ravi River Waterfront, Establishment of Industrial Estate, Sapphire Bay and Ravi Chahar Bagh Society is in full swing.

The premier was also informed that an effective awareness campaign has been launched through the media to maximize revenue through local and foreign investment in these historic projects.

The prime minister directed the concerned authorities to remove all legal hurdles as soon as possible in order to attract more investors. Meanwhile, AJK Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi met PM Imran Khan here. The meeting discussed the holding of local body elections in Azad Kashmir in the middle of this year and also discussed plans to promote tourism in AJK.

PM Imran said the government is taking steps to take full advantage of the immense potential of the tourism sector in Azad Kashmir, Northern Areas and Gilgit-Baltistan. “Providing employment to the local people through eco-tourism and protection of the natural beauty of these areas is among the top priorities of the government,” he maintained.

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