Promising that Punjab would not be the only province to prosper during his tenure, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday assured the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that the coalition government would work ceaselessly to work for the province’s development.
Addressing a huge public gathering in Bisham tehsil of Shangla district, the prime minister raised a question over the performance of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) provincial government, wondering how many hospitals and health facilities it had given to the people during its rule. Criticising the previous federal government, he said price hike had reached a historic peak during the last four years, with huge debt hovering around Rs24,000 billion.
“Due to their corruption and incompetency, the previous rulers did not even put a single brick to the stalled projects. The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) was delayed, causing a loss of billions of rupees,” he said, adding that the former rulers only unveiled plaques of projects launched by the PML-N government.
He said that during the PML-N rule in Punjab, orphans, widows and destitute segments of society were provided free-of-cost treatment, and now the same facilities had been resumed after a gap of four years. He vowed to provide similar health facilities to KP residents, and said his government would give all basic facilities that had been taken out of the reach of the poor people by the incompetence and corruption of the PTI government.
He said his government would leave no stone unturned to provide all basic facilities of life to the people of the province, regretting that the poor people could no longer afford basic food items like wheat and sugar.
Shehbaz said that during the holy month of Ramazan, he had announced a reduction in the prices of flour and sugar in Punjab. He said the provincial government in Punjab would soon announce similar relief to the people, and urged the KP chief minister to follow suit and provide relief to the masses.
The prime minister said if his request was not heeded to, he would come forward to serve the masses in KP with the provision of such relief.
He stressed that uniform development of all provinces was a must for the progress and development of the country.
“Shehbaz Sharif is ready to embark upon such initiatives, as national resources belong to all provinces. I will sell my clothes to provide relief to the people of KP,” he said.
He lamented that the country’s economy had been left in dire straits by the inept PTI rulers.
“It is not the same Pakistan for which its ancestors had given huge sacrifices… where health and education (facilities) are not equal for everyone. It is the right of every citizen to excel in every field of life by availing equal opportunities,” he added.
The premier recalled that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s government had installed new power plants with a capacity to generate thousands of megawatts of power, but the unites were shut down by the PTI government.
In a veiled reference to Imran Khan, he said a person lied and misled the nation during the last four years. Now he was shy of mentioning any achievement of his government, as he was afraid to inform the public about record price hike of flour and sugar, as well as unprecedented electricity load shedding, he said.
“They left the national coffer empty due to the ballooning of debts during their rule,” he added. He said the coalition government was working day and night to transform Pakistan into a country that was envisioned by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Shehbaz said he would never lie to the people of KP, nor would he make false promises, adding that if he erred, he would seek their forgiveness. He assured the masses that he would visit the province again when the measures announced by him start becoming visible.
He asked the people to make a solemn pledge to strive with sweat and blood for the progress and prosperity of the country, as going out with a begging bowl was not a solution to the economic woes of the country.
He also mentioned his recent meetings with the Saudi and UAE crown princes and appreciated their kind gesture towards the people of Pakistan.
Shehbaz also appreciated the people of KP, saying they had always rendered unmatched sacrifices for the country by upholding the national flag high.
He also announced construction of a medical college and grant of Rs2 billion for the reconstruction of streets and roads in the area.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb was also present, while PML-N provincial president and PM’s adviser Engineer Amir Muqam, MNA Dr Abdullah, Rashad Khan, Fazal Ullah and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi also spoke on the occasion. They said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the country would achieve rapid progress and prosperity, adding that the PML-N would eliminate the PTI from the province in the next general elections on the basis of its performance.
They said that the journey of progress initiated by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif would be resumed.
Murtaza Abbasi thanked the prime minister for ridding the nation of the incompetent government of PTI and hoped that the PML-N government would alleviate the deprivation of the people of the province caused by the PTI government.