Premier vows to promote knowledge

– Launches Punjab anti-graft App
By Uzma Zafar
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the government was determined to turn Pakistan into a knowledge-based economy and innovation by utilizing the energies of youth at proper platforms.
Addressing at the inauguration of the country’s first Science and Technology Park here at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), the prime minister said increased allocation in budget for innovative knowledge would be his prime priority despite financial constraints to put the country on track of development.
The NUST Science and Technology Park is aimed at harbouring companies and start-ups in diverse areas particularly agriculture, health, automobiles and smart technologies and will act as a link between academia and industries.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan was the second youngest population in the world, which could do marvels if provided with right opportunities to excel.
He said the government would replicate more technology parts in the country to involve youth in the domain of innovation. He empashized meritocracy and accountability as vital ingredients of democracy, which he said flourished talent for the benefit of the country.
He said the societies that discouraged merit got ultimately ruined and mentioned the hierarchy of major political parties in the country where leaders were chosen on the basis of hereditary set up rather than merit.
Imran Khan said Pakistan once a shining nation in sixties in view of its performance indicators faced a downfall in later decades due to inefficiency of system and institutions.
The prime minister said caring for others was a quality that made a great human being and stressed using knowledge as a tool to bring improvement in the lives of others. He expressed satisfaction that NUST was progressing as an institution that encouraged research in modern sciences and urged upon the students to maximum exploit their potential by challenging themselves in the field of education.
He asked them to realize the ‘Cycle of struggle’ and never get disappointed by setbacks in life and always get back to their feet with more courage to deal with challenges.
The prime minister also advised the students to study the life of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) as a great role model who established the State of Medina on the principles of righteousness.
He mentioned that Muslims once had a glorious past for having scholars equally capable of having knowledge in religion and science.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the government was focusing on the sector of innovation, particularly expanding biotechnology in next 10 years in areas of medicine, herbal and food security.
He said the largest Biotechnology Zone of the South Asia would be set up in Jhelum with an objective to contribute 20-30 percent of exports.
He called the need for a civil-military interface in science and technology for collaboration, where, for an example the drone technology used for military purpose could also be shared for agricultural surveillance.
Rector NUST Lt Gen (retd) Naveed Zaman said the historic event of launch of the Science and Technology Part was a moment to celebrate the collaboration among government, industries, scientists and leaders of tomorrow for their common goal of achieving innovation.
He mentioned that Pakistan for the first time joined the list of other countries in the region including China with over 400, Iran 43 and India 15 with technology parks.
He said NUST stood 400th in world ranking, 83rd in Asia, 5th under 50-year-old and first in Pakistan as a quality educational institute.
Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, Minister of State for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and senior officials attended the event.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said the vision of Naya Pakistan could not be accomplished unless the people fully take part in the government’s ongoing “jihad” against corruption by exposing the corrupt elements in the society.
Addressing a launching ceremony of “Report Corruption” mobile application introduced by Punjab’s Anti-Corruption Establishment, he said the elimination of corruption was inevitable to protect the future of the generation.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and other cabinet members also attended the event which marked the launching of the mobile application after the prime minister formally pushed the button.
“This is a great step towards making Pakistan a modern society. This is an impressive performance and request you to publicize to make people know the benefit of this drive,” the prime minister said while appreciating the idea of the mobile application as well as the recovery of government land worth Rs132 billion, besides another amount of Rs5 billion from corrupt people by the Punjab Anti Corruption.
He said unfortunately, the people did not know the connection between corruption and their lives and in some instances, people were also seen showering flower petals on the corrupt people out of their ignorance.
He said the youth of the country could play a leading role in the anti-corruption drive with their active participation.
The prime minister also advised the Punjab government to publicize the performance of the mobile application on monthly basis.
He said the Chinese economy was considered as the fastest growing economy just because the Chinese people as well as the government had arose against the corrupt people and above 400 minister level people were jailed on corruption charges.
He said the Chinese people considered President Xi Jinping as a real statesman because they had realized that corruption was the major reason to beget poverty.
Referring to the anti-corruption movements in Chili, Iraq and other states, the prime minister said it was a changed world where no one could conceal the corruption.
In the United States, the people were caught on the charges of corruption, they had committed even three decades ago, he added.
They had a popular maxim ‘you can run but cannot hide’, he added. He said despite being rich with huge natural resources, the corrupt nations remained poor while clean governments with no corruption became richer despite having a little resources and cited examples of Nigeria and Congo and that of Switzerland.
He explained that the money made through corrupt practices always landed in the individuals’ accounts instead of being spent on the welfare projects like education and health sectors to steer people out of poverty.
He said the land retrieved by the Punjab government could be used for the welfare projects like the construction of low-cost housing for those who could not afford building their own houses.
The corrupt people laundered the looted money abroad in dollars which impacted the local currency and led to reduction of national resources, he said.
He said the corrupt societies could never attract the investment and added the overseas Pakistanis were eyeing to invest their capital in their homeland once the government eliminated the social evil. In order to eliminate the minted money, the previous government executed development projects unnecessarily like the Metro Bus Service in Multan which had been resisted even by the people there.
He said the situation could not be changed unless the people considered the corrupt elements as their enemy.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the launch of the mobile application by Punjab government was a remarkable achievement against corruption which would enable the people report corruption through their mobile phones.
He told the gathering that the provincial government had recovered land valuing Rs 132 billion from illegal occupation besides another amount of Rs4.75 billion from the corrupt people.
He urged the people to move forward to report corruption through the new facility to contribute the purgation of the society of corruption. The government was committed neither to make any corruption nor let anyone else to do so, he resolved.
Shahzad Akbar said during one and half years of the provincial PTI government, around Rs132 billion had been recovered.
He said after launching the mobile application, the provincial government had targeted to digitalize the whole anti-corruption department.
After launching the mobile application, the accountability system was now in people’s hand who could also file complaints anonymously which would promote the concept of the whistleblower.
The Punjab anti corruption director general also gave a briefing about the performance of the provincial corruption watchdog.
He said during the last 16 months, they received a total of 31,746 complaints and held 6,883 inquires into these cases. A total of Rs1,798.82 million recoveries were made besides, land worth Rs12,738.95 million had been retrieved from the illegal occupation.
He urged the people to fully utilize the facility by lodging complaints against the corrupt elements and officials.