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World leaders ought to follow Imran, says Alvi

Muhammad Anis
Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi Monday praised Prime Minister Imran Khan and the government’s three-year performance as the opposition parties vehemently protested the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PDMA) bill in the joint sitting of the two Houses of parliament.

“The world would like to become a follower and student of Prime Minister Imran and learn from him due to his political wisdom,” he said. The presidential address to the parliament also marked the beginning of the fourth parliamentary year of the sitting National Assembly.

At the outset of the president’s address, the opposition started their protest and denounced the proposed PDMA bill, carrying placards and raising full-throated slogans against what they said martial law being imposed on freedom of the media.

They also gathered in front of the speaker’s dais and raised slogans against the government’s anti-media policies before the walkout. Referring to the exit of foreign forces from Afghanistan, President Alvi said Imran Khan had told the international leaders that there was no military solution to the Afghan problem but they went ahead with their plan and understood their mistake after spending trillions of dollars and scores of deaths.

“They should at least consult leaders having political wisdom. Now the world would like to become a follower and student of Imran Khan due to his political wisdom,” he said. The president gave some pieces of advice to the opposition but did not point out any weaknesses in the government policies. He told the opposition members that they had to accept reality despite raising noise.

“The country is on the path to industrial development, which cannot be stopped by raising noise,” he said. He praised the role of the media in creating awareness on different issues. Speaker Asad Qaiser had ordered closure of galleries apprehending protest and walkout by the parliamentary reporters against the proposed PDMA legislation.

The president, however, did mention that democratic values and a tradition of tolerance had been promoted in the last three years, the period which witnessed many positive changes. He said the government had secured achievements on various fronts, especially on economic, social and human development and foreign policy fronts.

He said despite the negative impact of COVID-19, the country’s economy had been put on a positive trajectory. He expressed satisfaction that the economic growth remained 3.94 percent during the last financial year.

President Alvi said exports had touched $25.3 billion and remittances $19.4 billion during the last financial year, while remittances witnessed an increase of 10 percent during the first two months of the current fiscal year.

President Arif Ali said the Pakistan Stock Exchange had broken all previous records and emerged as the world’s fourth best performing markets. He said according to a survey of overseas investors, chambers of commerce and industry, the Business Confidence Index of Pakistan had improved by massive 60 percent.

He said the FBR collection had reached Rs4,732 billion in the last fiscal year and during the first two months of current financial year an additional Rs160 billion was collected. He pointed out that enhancement in remittances and revenue collection showed confidence of the masses in the policies of the government.

The president also appreciated the steps taken by the government to meet the action plan of Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He said the government also gave a comprehensive package to the construction industry in order to uplift the weak segments of the society and mentioned that people were being provided with easy loans to build their own houses.

Giving credit for rapid construction activity to the prime minister, he said achievements on the economic front were a reality, which the opposition will have to accept. Dr Arif Alvi said agriculture sector witnessed a growth of 2.7 percent, while exports in the IT sector touched the mark of $2.12 billion.

He said various programmes had been launched to provide skill training to the youth. He said 1.7 million youth had so far been provided with vocational training. Dr Arif Alvi said the government had been implementing a number of social security initiatives under the Ehsaas programme for socio-economic development of people. He said Rs208 billion had been allocated for the programme that will benefit about 30 percent of the population.

He said Ehsaas Nashonuma, Waseela Taleem, Ehsaas Kafalat, Ehsaas Scholarship, Emergency Cash, Langarkhana and ‘Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ programmes would significantly contribute to socio-economic development across the country.

The President said the youth were being provided with easy loans for starting their own business adding that Rs100 billion had been earmarked for the programme and so far Rs15 billion had been distributed among the eligible candidates.

Dr Arif Alvi said Pakistan was heading towards universal health coverage under the government’s Sehat Sahulat Program. He said eighteen million families were currently benefiting from this programme and hopefully the health card scheme will soon reach every corner of the country.

He underlined the need for giving special importance to telemedicine, as it would decrease burden on hospitals. The president also emphasised family planning and breast feeding and also urged the media and Ulema to play their role in creating awareness in this regard.

Talking about the education sector, Dr. Arif Alvi said the government had introduced a single national curriculum and announced massive scholarship for students to promote education in the country.

He said uniform syllabus was a step towards building a united nation. On climate change, Dr. Arif Alvi said the government had launched Rs10 million Tsunami and Clean Green Pakistan to mitigate negative impacts of environmental degradation.

He said differently abled people had been exempted from tuition and hostel fee by the Higher Education Commission, enabling them to become a vibrant and productive segment of the society.

He said the government had paid special attention to safeguarding the rights of differently abled people and women. Regarding protections of women rights, the president said the government had not only made effective legislation, but also took administrative measures to prevent incidents of sexual harassment against women and children.