Will develop KP on a par with Punjab: PM

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Sunday announced that under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would also be made a developed province at par with Punjab.

He announced a medical college, separate electric supply company and development projects worth a billion rupees for the Hazara region. Addressing a public meeting here, he said the medical college would be built in Mansehra so that youth could join the medical field. He said Nawaz Sharif constructed Hazara motorway “and people remember him as the builder of Pakistan”. Nawaz Sharif laid a network of motorways, including Hazara motorway and Multan Sukkur motorway, under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, he recalled.

The former premier, he said, worked day and night to put Pakistan on the road of progress and prosperity, he added. Shehbaz said that under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would also be made a developed province to bring it at par with Punjab. He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would have to reject Imran Niazi, whom he called arrogant, someone who lies and takes u-turns. “If you want Peshawar to be developed like Lahore and entire province like Punjab then you have to decide who wants prosperity and development and who made false promises and takes U-turns,” said PM Shehbaz while referring to PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

He said the PTI chief is hoodwinking people and had taken inflation to the highest level in his three and a half years in power; under him, there was a massive increase in poverty and unemployment. “Imran Niazi did not fulfill his promise to build five million houses and create 10 million jobs,” he said, adding that millions of people lost their jobs during the tenure of the last government. He said Nawaz Sharif developed Pakistan while Imran Khan damaged its interests.

“The government would respond to the abuse of Imran Niazi by initiating development projects,” the prime minister said. Speaking about the increase in the prices of petroleum products, Shehbaz said he had to do it with a heavy heart but at the same time a subsidy of Rs28 billion per month was given to 85 million people as the government is aware of their problems. Under the scheme, every family would get a subsidy of Rs2,000 per month on petrol purchase, he said. “Imran Niazi in his last days reduced the prices of petrol at a time when the prices were very high in the international market. Imran knew that he was being ousted from the government through constitutional means so he set a trap for the incoming government,” Shehbaz observed.

PM Shehbaz said that the audio recording of the alleged telephone conversation between PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and property tycoon Malik Riaz had “exposed” PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s “hypocrisy and double standards”, asserting that his predecessor’s “lies stand exposed”. The leaked audio recording – in which the voices were believed by many to be that of Zardari and Riaz – was widely reported by the electronic media and shared on social media on Saturday where the latter could be heard telling the PPP chairman that Imran was desperate for a “patch-up” with him.

The PM said Imran Khan burdened the country with huge loans which would be paid back by coming generations. He said a scheme of free laptops would be announced in the next budget in June for youth. Shehbaz said local bodies elections were held peacefully in Balochistan and the voter turnout remained 30-35 percent, which was a very encouraging development and proved that people in the far flung areas of Balochistan had trust in the democratic process and in the environment of security.

Earlier, at the same event, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz claimed that Imran had reached out to her father Nawaz Sharif “through his people” and urged him to announce an election date in return for his offer to call off the long march. “Nawaz Sharif refused it categorically,” said Maryam. She also said the PTI chief was “hiding” in Peshawar due to his fear of arrest.