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PTM demand for protection of Pashtuns’ rights genuine : PM Imran Khan

Lahore : The Prime Minister who wore tribal turban said unfortunately the then ruler was naïve to the nature, traditions and history of the tribal people. What actually happened to the tribal area (during war against terrorism) was not fully known to those living outside the region, he remarked.

He said it was the that time ruler, not the Pakistan Army, responsible for military operation in the tribal areas making the people suffer. He said no Pakistani prime minister ever visited the tribal areas so frequently like him as he knew the area better than all. Mentioning the losses to the houses, cattle and businesses faced by the people in Orakzai area, the prime minister said the government would not ignore their sacrifices and compensate them.

He said though the demands by the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM)for protection of Pashtuns’ rights were genuine, the slogans they had been raising against the army was of no use. Instead of fueling the flame, he said it was time to mull over as how to move forward and uplift the people by providing them education, health and employment opportunities.

He said the government would promote tourism to cash in on the potential of the Orakzai area and directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister to facilitate tourism to open up business and job opportunities for youth.

He told the gathering that Malaysia and Turkey earned $22 billion and $40 billion respectively out of tourism but Pakistan’s earning was minimal.

Terming provision of jobs to youth as the biggest challenge, Imran Khan said under Rozgar scheme, the youth would be given interest free loans to establish their businesses.

He said 60 percent of Pakistan’s population was below 30 years of age and if they were properly educated and imparted skill training, they could boost the economy. Even the women could be trained in information technology (IT) to make them earn living while being at home and maintaining their traditions.

The prime minister said government’s main focus and effort would be to promote education and bring foreign investment to explore gas, copper and other mineral resources in the area. He said the government had decided to provide Insaf Sehat Card to every family in tribal region to provide health insurance cover of Rs 720,000. He said for the first time, his government would be consulting the associations of seminaries to introduce contemporary education like science and engineering there to provide equal opportunities to 2.6 million students to become doctor, judge or general.

He said during the last decade, the previous governments had increased the debt burden from Rs 6,000 billion in 2008 to Rs 30,000 in 2018.

He said the country’s economic outlook would have been far better had Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari were not given an NRO closing their cases of money laundering.

He said Bilawal Bhutto, Asif Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman had been threatening to remove the government to conceal their corruption. No country could progress amid corrupt rulers, he remarked.

He said the fear of jail was haunting them and factually, it was not the democracy but their looted money under threat. He said during his visit to Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Peshawar he had come across two Afghan nationals getting cancer treatment. Wishing the return of peace in Afghanistan, the prime minister said he had asked the administration of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital to mull over the possibility of establishing a similar facility in Afghanistan.

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