– Launches Ehsas Financial Inclusion Strategy initiative
– Lauds stronger economic relations with Saudi Arabia
By Shakeel Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan says his government’s top priority is to pull the people out of poverty and turn Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state on the pattern of Madina.
Addressing the launching ceremony of “Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Initiatives” in Islamabad today, he said the incumbent government has been working to improve the economic situation of the country.
Unfortunately, Prime Minister Khan lamented, the poor paid taxes but the rich got away with tax evasion by setting up offshore companies. He added there is one education system for the poor and another for the rich.
The gap between the have and the have-nots has widened over last decade as the rich have had access to all amenities, he said.
The prime minister said society can’t progress without imparting education to the women. Noting that there are three education systems currently prevalent in the country, he said the government has been trying to introduce a uniform system.
He regretted the rich are getting richer while the poor poorer, adding the greed to make a quick buck has become a big curse.
He thanked Queen Maxima of the Netherlands for visiting Pakistan and taking keen interest in the Ehsaas program.
In her address, Queen Maxima said the Ehsaasprogramme is a good initiative of the government of Pakistan to lift the people from poverty.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday launched Financial Inclusion Strategy initiative under the government’s flagship poverty alleviation Ehsas programme.
During the launching ceremony, Queen of Netherlands Maxima, in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishar, Advisor on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Reza Baqir, representatives from the world leading financial partners and officials were present during the ceremony. Key financial inclusion initiatives under Ehsaas include Ehsaas-Kifalat, ‘One Woman One Bank Account Policy,’ bank accounts for informal workers, Mazdoor ka Ehsaas, access to credit and microcredit for the daily workers
Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said that his government was pursuing all policies to lift poor segments of the society through different poverty alleviation programmes including the Financial Inclusion Strategy under the Ehsas programme. He said the system of injustice and disparity of the past would not be allowed and there was a need to change the whole mindset. He said the whole society had to decide, that they could not allow this unfair, unjust system to continue.
The government was focused on how to lift the poor people out of poverty and how to take initiatives for their well being and betterment, he added.
Decrying the elitists system of the past, the prime minister said it created divisions within the society where the facilities of treatment at hospitals or educational institutions for the rich and poor functioned separately. The prime minister said prior to his political career, he devoted himself to the social work and after coming into power, he was committed to building a social welfare state on the pattern of state of Madina.
For the first time in the history of the world, a real social welfare state was created by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) which was based upon the principles of compassion and justice. In that state, he said, the underprivileged, widows, handicapped, orphans, and destitute were taken care of whereas, pension facility was extended to the people for the first time in the world. The prime minister said it was his great motivation and he was firm to build a welfare state on those ideal principles.
“As Muslim, we are told in the Holy Quran, that we have to follow the example of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and hence that was my motivation for coming into politics and to building a welfare state in Pakistan,” he added.
He said the feeling of compassion and caring had been the core ingredients of the Ehsas programme. The prime minister also lamented the elitists system prevailing throughout the globe, making the rich nations richer and the poor, the poorer.
“Unfortunately, there is a trend in the world where the poor get poorer and the rich get the richer. Likewise, the poor countries get poorer and the richer countries get the richest. It is the biggest curse of this universe,” he added.
He referred to the latest report of the one of the UN bodies which said due to such wide discrimination, the 26 odd richest billionaires own as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet’s population.
The prime minister said that there was something wrong with the system which created this inequality where some people had so huge pelf at their disposal that they would never be able to spend it even if they get the chance to live for five times. “On the other hand, you have poverty. I feel that there is greed in the universe where the rich wants to avoid taxes. They have these offshore accounts,” he added.
The prime minister also lauded China for taking 700 million people out of the poverty in the last three decades. “This has never been done in the human history,” he added. He also linked the major universal challenges like global warming and the environmental degradation with the greed for amassing wealth. The prime minister also referred to different poor migrants from various countries risking their lives in boats in their bid to land in the rich countries.
He said in Pakistan, his government would be trying its best to alleviate; not because of securing votes but because it was his belief that it would not be a civilized society where you have such poverty.
Opp demands snap polls, rule of law
By Makhdoom Shehryar Babar
ISLAMABAD: The opposition leaders reiterated their demand for transparent elections after a meeting of the All Parties Conference on Tuesday that was called by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to chalk out the future strategy against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The demand was made by JUI-F chief, Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal while addressing the media after the all parties conference.
The JUI-F chief said the meeting expressed firm support for the four-point agenda of the joint opposition. He said that rule of law and constitution would be ensured and all institutions have to remain in their limits. He said the struggle of opposition would continue until the agenda is completed.
He said PTI foreign funding case should be heard and local governments must be restored. Fazl said statements of ministers have made China-Pakistan Corridor Authority (CPEC) controversial and that a separate CPEC Authority was need of the hour.
The PPP chairperson also endorsed the demand for snap polls and said that his party was ready to enter the electoral fray.
Speaking about the health of his father Asif Ali Zardari, he said the former president’s condition was not good and the government was not cooperating with the PPP over his health. It may be noted here Zardari has been at an Islamabad hospital for the past few weeks.
He said it was against the constitution that cases that were registered Sindh were being heard in Rawalpindi. “We hope the Supreme Court would hear the case soon,” said Bilawal.
Talking on the occasion, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said parliament was locked and the government was being run through ordinances. He said a very important appointment was made controversial.
He said it was inevitable that an elected government must come instead of a selected one.