PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that certain privileged classes operating either in the shape of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) or mafias like sugar barons have been trying to avoid accountability and resist the rule of law in the country.
“The powerful elite do not submit to the rule of law. At times they come out in the shape of PDM or sugar mafia to blackmail the government,” he said while speaking at a ceremony held in Nowshera on Wednesday to inaugurate work on Jalozai Flats for low-income people.
The prime minister said mafias were sitting everywhere which considered themselves above the law. The mafias wanted preferential treatment to evade the law, he added.
He said the sugar mafia increased sugar price, earned money and avoided paying taxes and now they wanted that cases should not be framed against them.
He said caring for the poor and ensuring rule of law was in line with Islam’s first welfare State of Medina where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) brought a revolution for the mankind. Mr Khan said no nation could prosper if it neglected its weaker segments and failed to ensure rule of law.
The rule of law, he said, was the main component of a strong society. On the other hand, a banana republic protected its powerful people only, he added.
Mr Khan regretted that no government in the past gave attention to providing basic amenities to common man, including shelter.
He said provision of shelter to common man was basic responsibility of the state, adding that the government’s low-cost housing projects would benefit the weaker segments of society.
Mr Khan said the government would provide Rs300,000 subsidy on each house to be built under Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme while the buyer would pay easy mortgage installments to get ownership rights.
He said with the government’s efforts, a long-delayed foreclosure law had been enacted that resulted in an agreement with banks on mortgage financing, which was the key factor in the materialisation of the government’s housing project.
The prime minister urged the banks to further streamline their loan disbursement procedure, including training of the staff, to facilitate the aspirants.
He said Jalozai Apartments, to be built on 9,800 kanals of land, would be given to the registered persons through ballot.
He said that former prime minister Mohammad Khan Junejo had launched a housing scheme for underprivileged classes in the 1980s but it could not succeed. He said the PTI government changed the strategy and conducted a survey before launching the housing project.
The prime minister lauded the efforts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan for replicating the low-cost housing scheme launched by the federal government.
He said KP was the first province of the country to provide health insurance of Rs1 million to every citizen.
Mr Khan said the government would provide land for hospitals at cheaper rates to encourage the public sector to expand the scope of medical treatment to a larger population.
He said shelter homes (Panahgahs) and mobile soup kitchens under the project ‘Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ (Let no one sleep hungry) were in line with the vision of the welfare State of Medina.
He asked the chief minister to demarcate the areas populated by labourers for setting up such free shelter and food points.
Speaking on the occasion, CM Mahmood Khan said the provincial government was making efforts for the uplift of the common man by carrying out development projects.
He said that 1,320 residential flats would be constructed at a cost of Rs3,300 million in Jalozai under Naya Pakistan Hosing Scheme for the people with low income, adding that the flats would be allotted purely on the basis of merit to low earning people.
He termed the construction of flats another significant step towards realisation of the prime minister’s vision of providing residential facilities to low earning segments of the society.
Earlier Prime Minister Khan was briefed in Peshawar about the cultivation of olive and saffron in KP. He said under the new agricultural policy, farmers in KP would be provided relief through division of the province in different zones and introduction of new varieties of fruit, crops and seeds.
He was informed that the cultivation of olive would not only help end its import, but the country would also be able to export it after meeting domestic requirements.
Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2021