LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said changing the corrupt system was a “time taking, but doable challenge” and lambasted the status quo, which he blamed for resisting systemic reformation.
“The status quo doesn’t allow change. It makes them lose their money. How will they make money if they don’t resist change?” Khan said in a speech after he broke ground on apartments for low-income groups here. “This way, a whole [vicious] system is developed in society.”
Khan was referring to the “resistance the government faced from all quarters” in its efforts to introduce automation, which the Prime Minister believes would eliminate corruption.
The Prime Minister was elected on a pledge to eliminate graft and revolutionise the country, with the word “Tabdeeli” becoming synonymous with his movement.
The Prime Minister said he had seen the deteriorating system in the country and it required a vision and commitment to change the corrupt system. “But it is doable, as we know many countries which have transformed themselves. We will have to change ourselves, if Pakistan has to meet the 21st century’s challenges,” he said.
Referring to his vision of Naya Pakistan and State of Medina, the Prime Minister said the state Medina was based on two golden principles: the rule of law and humanity. He said: “Today’s Scandinavian welfare states and others in the West are also pursuing these very noble principles.”
He added: “Today, a proper battle is going on in Pakistan to make big mafias accountable before the law. There are big political mafias too, which are resisting the rule of law. This is a defining moment of Pakistan. As we establish the writ of law, the society will be liberated.”
He said the State of Medina had taken full responsibility of its poor despite resource constraints and the government was also trying to follow the same principles by extending universal health coverage, building shelters and introducing mobile kitchens.
He said the KP government had extended Sehat Insaf Card to its entire population, while Punjab would also achieve the same target by the end of this year to make the beneficiaries avail free medical treatment of up to one million rupees. “Even developed countries do not have such a universal health coverage,” he added.
Khan said on Sunday, he would launch a mobile kitchen initiative to serve free food to the poor in their respective areas. Quoting a recently published UNDP report, the Prime Minister said as per UN data, poverty had declined in KP during the last seven years while the human development index had shown a positive trend.
Moreover, he said the government would collect data of its entire population by June which would help the government pay direct subsidy to deserving people. “God willing, Pakistan is going to become a welfare state,” he said.
The Prime Minister spoke at length about the project, which will see 35,000 apartments constructed for low-income groups under his Naya Pakistan Housing scheme. Khan appreciated the Punjab chief minister, cabinet members and particularly Lahore Development Authority Vice Chairman Imran Munir for the endeavour. He said the project would have been impossible without the passage of foreclosure law for mortgage finance and thanked the judiciary for resolving the issue, which was pending since years. Khan said in Pakistan, mortgage financing stood at around 0.2 per cent compared to 80 per cent in Western countries. He said the passage of the foreclosure law enabled people without cash to buy or build their own houses. “The people will be able to avail the housing finance by paying instalments from the money they use for house rent,” he added. He again appreciated Imran Munir for introducing automation to facilitate the construction sector, which was booming in the country as “evidenced by the record sale of cement during the last month”. He also appreciated the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority officials for meeting the central bank, Federal Board Revenue (FBR), and commercial banks to make things easy for the construction sector as well as remove hassles from the housing loan process. Khan said the construction industry supported another 30 sectors, thus becoming a major boost the economy. Khan also spoke highly of the Punjab Bank President for supporting wealth creation, like any “outstanding banker and contrary to some typical banks which banked upon government’s deposits”.