Pakistan will not become a part of a foreign conflict, declares the PM


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphatically stated that Pakistan will not become part of any foreign conflict and vowed to economically uplift the country.
The prime minister said this while addressing a ceremony in connection with the three-year performance of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government on Thursday.
Talking about the evolving situation in Afghanistan, Imran Khan urged the international community to play its due role in bringing peace to Afghanistan. He said the Taliban have assured to form an inclusive government for durable peace in Afghanistan and the world community should help them achieve this goal.
The prime minister said that the Afghan army did not fight against the Taliban because ousted president Ashraf Ghani-led government was “corrupt”.
“Afghan people are not cowards, they are very brave and courageous… no nation has ever fought for their freedom like them [Afghans] who sacrificed one million lives in the fight against Russians,” he said.
Drawing a comparison between the performance of his government with that of the previous one, the Prime Minister said the current account deficit was $20 billion in 2018 which has now been reduced to $1.8 billion. Foreign exchange reserves have increased to $27 billion which were $16.4 billion three years ago.
The prime minister said the tax collection has increased from Rs3,800 billion to Rs4,700 billion and the remittances from $19.9 billion to $29.4 billion.
He said the industry has witnessed a growth of eighteen percent whilst the cement sale has witnessed an increase of forty-two percent. There has been a record sale of motorcycles and tractors whilst the sale of cars has shown an increase of eighty-five percent. He said Rs1,100 billion of additional income has gone to the farmers. He said, “It is the first time that our exports are witnessing an increase.”
The prime minister said that Pakistan pursued a sagacious policy of smart lockdown after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in order to protect the lives and livelihood of the people. He said, “Our policy was appreciated at the international level, including by the World Health Organisation and World Economic Forum.”
Imran Khan said the PTI government is pursuing the mission of justice, humanity and self-esteem. He said the government has waged a struggle against the mafia in order to bring the influential people under the law as it is the only way the country can be taken forward on the path of progress and development.
The prime minister said that the Anti-Corruption Department in Punjab made recoveries of Rs450 billion in the last three years which were mere Rs2.5 billion before the PTI came into power. Similarly, the NAB made recoveries of Rs519 billion during the last three years.
Alluding to Ehsaas programme, he said allocation of this social safety net has been enhanced from Rs110 billion to Rs260 billion. He said, “Our Cash Emergency programme, launched after the breakout of Covid-19 to protect the vulnerable groups, has got recognition from the World Bank.”
He said the government’s focus is to empower women through education. He said this is the reason that female students at the school level are being given more scholarships than the boys. He said legislation has also been done to protect the rights of women.
The prime minister said that the Kamyab Pakistan Programme is also on the cards to uplift four million poor households. He said under this program, interest free loans will be provided to the families to start their businesses. Besides, one person from each family will be provided with technical training. These families will also be provided with health cards and easy loans to build their houses.
He said health cards have been provided to each household in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa whilst the same facility will be extended to each household in Punjab by the end of this year.
He said the Kisan Card scheme has also been launched to provide necessary assistance to the farmers. He said initially this scheme has been started in Punjab and it will be extended to Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Urging the youth to learn from the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), the prime minister said the government will introduce a course for the students of grade 8 to 10 for this purpose.
The prime minister specially thanked and appreciated the armed forces, saying their professionalism and readiness give a sense of security to the people of this country. He said, “The real strength and importance of our armed forces came to the fore in the wake of Pulwama incident.”
Earlier, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain presented a booklet to Prime Minister Imran Khan about the government’s three years performance.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has underlined that an inclusive political settlement is the best course forward.
Exchanging views with President European Council Charles Michel on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan in a telephonic conversation on Thursday, the prime minister highlighted the positive role of Pakistan in facilitating evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organisations and others from Afghanistan.
The prime minister shared Pakistan’s perspective, stressing that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in the vital interest of Pakistan and the region. He underscored the importance of ensuring safety and security as well as protection of the rights of all Afghans.
He expressed the hope that the Afghan leaders would continue to work together to achieve that end. The Prime Minister reaffirmed that Pakistan will steadfastly support all efforts in this direction.
He underscored that stabilising the security situation in Afghanistan is essential to preserve peace, effectively respond to any humanitarian challenges and ensure economic well-being of the Afghan people in their country. He added that the current situation in Afghanistan required sustained engagement of the international community.
The prime minister and president of the European Council agreed that both sides remain in contact and coordinate closely on the situation in Afghanistan.
The prime minister also extended an invitation to the president of the European Council to visit Pakistan.
The president of the European Council thanked the Prime Minister for hosting evacuees in transit.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan received a telephone call from President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Masatsugu Asakawa.
The ADB president appreciated Pakistan’s role in facilitating evacuation of the ADB personnel stranded at the Kabul Airport.
Prime Minister Khan also acknowledged the cooperation of the ADB with Pakistan in mitigating the negative impacts of Covid-19 pandemic, including supporting procurement of Covid vaccines.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that formation of an inclusive Afghan government and positive engagement of international community with Afghanistan is the way forward to avert any humanitarian crisis and secure peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The prime minister said this while talking to Executive Director of United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley on Thursday.
The prime minister appreciated the role of WFP as the leading international humanitarian organisation for delivering food assistance in emergencies and for working with nations worldwide to improve nutrition and build resilience. He underlined that Pakistan has been a beneficiary of various WFP projects that are being implemented in the country and values its partnership with the organisation.
Executive Director Beasley expressed gratitude to Pakistan for its role in facilitating the work of the World Food Programme in providing food assistance to the Afghans. He also discussed with the prime minister the ways of facilitating the continued provision of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.
Earlier, the WFP chief shared a video in his Twitter handle from the federal capital, where the food agency’s helicopters and planes were being repaired, thanking Pakistan for its assistance.
“The Pakistani government has really helped us so that we can bring the aircraft damaged in Kabul here for repair,” he said in the clip.
According to Beasely, test flights are being conducted from Islamabad to Kabul in hopes of creating an airbridge “from external to internal”. The aim is to take UN personnel, NGOs and aid workers to Afghanistan, he added.
“We will have these fixed wings moving passengers, UN personnel, WFP and other humanitarian workers, so that we can not only maintain our operations but also scale up, which is critical right now with all the devastation inside Afghanistan”, Beasely maintained. He hoped to “bring life back to normal and give hope to people in desperation right now”. In his tweet, Beasely thanked the government of Pakistan for their support.
The UN’s World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian agency working towards eradicating hunger across the globe. – TLTP