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Dr Firdous visited Panagah in Lahore

Lahore :Special Assistant to the Prime
Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan Saturday
said the government was moving forward on its long and short term
policies and reform agenda to put the country’s system, including
economy, on track.

Talking to media-persons during her visit to a Panagah
(shelter home) near Lahore Railway Station, she said the government
was taking both long term and short term measures to ensure provision
of relief and mitigate miseries of the common man.

   Firdous said the past rulers had also initiated a number of
so-called programmes for public welfare and poverty alleviation, which
further suppressed the poor instead of providing them any relief.

               Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said, had challenged the
status quo prevailing in the country for the last 70 years that was a
big hurdle in its development.  The present government was fully
committed to change the outdated system through long-term policies and
short-term agenda, she added.

               Dr Firdous mentioned that the past governments had
assimilated corruption in the entire system and planted ‘mines’ in the
country’s economic sector. “When we

look into any institution, it is found infested with the virus of corruption.”

   She said today, the opposition parties were talking loud of the
miseries of the common man, price-hike and high energy tariffs. But
why they did not think of the poor when they had been in power, she
asked.

               The special assistant said the past rulers had put the
entire nation under heavy foreign debt burden, which proved cancer for
the economy. First aid or minor

treatment would not work, rather chemotherapy was required to treat
the economic cancer, she added.

               To a question, Firdous said though the recent IMF
package was a bitter pill to swallow yet it would have far-reaching
effects on the country’s economic turnaround and improving the poor’s
plight.

   She said the PTI government was taking every possible measure to
overcome the problems being faced by the poor people. Subsidy of Rs
216 billion would be given to electricity consumers using up to 300
units per month, while the grant under Ehsas Programme had also been
enhanced to Rs 180 billion from Rs 80 billion, she added.

               To another query, she said the Asset Declaration Bill
was aimed at ending the menace of money laundering, documenting the
economy and ensuring protection to the economic partners and
investors.

               Money laundering by the previous rulers, she said, had
put Pakistan in the gray list at international level. In the past, all
the amnesty schemes were used to save the black money, she added.

               Firdous said Prime Minister Imran Khan was concerned
about the poor segments of the society. Shelter homes had been
constructed for those people, who came from villages and small towns
to big cities in search of jobs to earn their livelihood, and the poor
and deserving people as well as the victims of Takht-e-Lahore, so that
they could have a better place to take rest. Earlier, such people had
no option but to sleep on green belts and footpaths in the open sky
and used to face severe weather conditions, she added.

               To another question, she said the government would not
leave the media workers in hot waters and stood with them in their
difficult times. The prime minister had recently chaired a high-level
meeting with owners of media houses to sort out the issues. The
government was going to notify the interim wage award, and later, the
permanent wage award would be worked out with the consultation of all
stakeholders.

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