PM asks nation to decide its future course sans foreign debts

LAHORE, April 15 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said that there existed economic challenges but the nation would have to decide whether they would live on foreign debts or to stand on its feet by carving a niche among the comity of nations with honesty, dedication and hard work.

The prime minister expressed the optimism that despite different challenges, Pakistan would be soon out of all difficulties.

If the chronic issue of load shedding, the scourge of terrorism could end, free medicines could be provided to the poor, road infrastructure could be laid, then surely, the country could move on the path of progress and prosperity, he added.

The prime minister was addressing a ceremony after reviewing the construction work on six-lane overhead bridge of Imamia Colony railways crossing Shahdra N-5.

He said that those nations always achieved milestones that took lead with definite decisions over their future.

The country was not created to move on debts and act like beggar because their forefathers and different generations had given sacrifices for the motherland, he added.

The prime minister referred to the terms of International Monetary Fund (IMF) for seeking loan agreement and said that they did every effort to implement them.

Even, they sought bilateral financial support from the friendly nations including China that realized their problems and provided a rollover of $2 billion loan besides, returning back previous debt amount paid back by Pakistan.

The prime minister also expressed his gratitude to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE had committed a loan of $3 billion.

He lauded the efforts of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the chief of army staff for making efforts in this regard.

The ceremony was attended by Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, parliamentarians, chief secretary, National Highway Authority chairman and relevant authorities.

The prime minister said that inflation and price hike, no doubt, had made the lives of ordinary people difficult, but the coalition government was cognizant of these affects.

He urged the nation to work hard by day and night and transform the country into the visions of Quaid and Allama Iqbal.

The prime minister cited the pace of development and uplift projects across Punjab province during Nawaz Sharif’ tenure, regretting that during the last four years of PTI’s tenure, brakes were applied, ending a number of public welfare-oriented projects, besides putting other vital projects into the cold storage.

Recounting the public welfare projects initiated during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure in the province, he said, some of them included the greater Iqbal park, metro bus service, cricket ground, power projects to overcome 20 hours load shedding which was ended in 2018 and that was a huge achievement.

But during 2018, he said through ‘a fraud and fake election’, polling results were rigged and the results were changed.

With such move, the development pace was snatched which also saw a height of corruption in the province during PTI’s government. Whereas, the PML-N government had strived to eliminate the curse during its terms, he added.

He reminded the people that during his tenure as provincial chief minister, the Mall and Gulberg roads were washed but now, these roads had been left in dilapidated condition by the former rulers.

He said during his 12 years terms as the chief minister, he had  provided flour to the people at subsidized rates, but for the first time in the country’s history, about 80 to 100 million people were being benefited from the free flour scheme for which Rs65 billion rupees were spent in the month of Ramazan alone.

About the construction of flyovers, he said that one each flyover Imamia colony was being completed by the federal government and the other at Shahdara by the provincial government.

He said the metro bus project from Shahdra would be expanded to Kala Shah Kaku, adding all these projects were meant for the public benefits.

The prime minister said that he had directed for completion of the work in three months.

The prime minister also criticized former chief justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar for staying different projects in the province including the issue of 56 companies.

He said in these proceedings, not a single penny of corruption was proved.

The Orange line was a gift of China for the people of Lahore, he said, adding after a lengthy proceeding of 11-month over a case moved by PTI, the high court gave a clean chit.

But the PTI people then took the issue to the Supreme Court, where the former chief justice delayed the decision for months, with clear intentions to cause harm to PML-N and public uplift schemes.

The prime minister also accused former justice Saqib Nisar of causing loss to PKLI and questioned what he was doing in the constituency of Shaikh Rashid.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain said that the project was being completed which had been pending for construction for long.

During the last PTI government’s tenure, such like development schemes were halted causing irreparable loss to the country.

The construction of the project was approved and initiated by the PML-N government during 2017 and inaugurated by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he added.

Earlier, the prime minister was briefed by the relevant authorities over the construction work. The prime minister directed the authorities to expedite the work and complete it in three months timeframe.

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