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Imran asks overseas Pakistanis to send remittances via banks to strengthen economy

Newly-elected PM vows to transform the country into an Islamic welfare state.

ISLAMABAD: In his maiden speech to the nation as prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan on Sunday laid down plan to run the affairs of the new government — ‘Naya Pakistan’ — and transform the country into an Islamic welfare state.

In his wide-ranging speech, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief announced a number of measures aimed at austerity, getting rid of loans, domestic resource mobilization and reforms in education, health and agriculture sectors.

Expressing remorse over lavish lifestyle of former rulers, he suggested that we should adopt austerity and cut heavy expenditures. He also deliberated on how Pakistan got stuck under huge foreign debt.

Vowing to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state through all-encompassing reforms in different spheres of life, the newly-elected prime minister requested masses to bring change in their personal lives.

Calling Quran as his fundamental and eternal guide, he said the laws stated in the Holy Quran were adopted by the developed nations of the contemporary world.

Citing examples from the life of Holy Prophet (SAWW) and lives of Muslim leaders of the Quroon-e-Uoola, he said merit was promoted, zakat was given to poor and stress was given on education.

“On the flip side, around 225 million children in Pakistan are out of school.

“Education was one of the most important aspects of the Muslim world when it was at its peak. In the western world, the nations which have progressed, they have laws that those in power cannot use their influence for personal gains and businesses,” he said.

The premier said medressah students should also be mainstreamed. They should become Army officers, engineers, doctors and professors, he added.

Referring to the prevailing conditions, he said economic difficulties were not as bad in the history of the country as today.

“The debt burden increased from 6000 billion rupees to 28000 billion rupees during the last ten years. In the past, the country had to secure two billion dollar loan annually to pay back its debt. Today, we have to take two billion dollars every months to pay back just interest on loans obtained in the past,” he worried.

Imran Khan said apart from debt burden, Pakistan was at the lowest at the human development index, people were forced to drink polluted water and rate of child-mother mortality was very high.

The premier said there were 524 employees of the PM House, which was spread over 1100 kanal, eighty vehicles including 33 bullet proof vehicles, a helicopter and an aircraft was at the disposal of the PM House. He said the former prime minister incurred 650 million rupees on his foreign visits.

He pledged to begin accountability from himself. He said he would hold auction for luxurious vehicles brought from foreign countries for protocol of the Prime Minister House.

Imran said governors of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would not reside at the governor houses and the Prime Minister House would be converted into a state-of-the-art university.

He said we had become so used to begging debt from foreign countries that we no longer felt ashamed on it.

The PTI chief said he would fortify the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to collect taxes and his government would keep masses abreast of all the developments regarding benefits reaped by the nation after the collection of taxes.

“You have to pay tax for the respect of the nation. You are harming the nation if you don’t pay tax. Look at how some of the poorest are living. How can we stand for this?” he said.

Imran said his government would facilitate overseas Pakistanis in investing in the country and bringing their money to their homeland. He said they should send remittances through banks which would have healthy effect on our economy.

He also said the PTI government would get innocent Pakistanis, who were in jails abroad, out of prisons.

The cricketer-turned-politician emphasised on need of increasing exports.

“We have to increase our exports as well. Our exports will increase when our government will facilitate all our industries to remove all hurdles for them. We will also work to bring investment into the country, make an environment for investment.

“Right now we are short on dollars. There is a huge trade gap right now. We need your remittances via our banking system so we get foreign exchange through our banks,” he said.

The PTI chairman requested overseas Pakistanis to deposit some money into Pakistani banks as the country needed their help to get through the difficult time.

Warning corrupt people of untoward consequences, he sought support from the nation in fight against money embezzlement.

“When we start our drive against corruption, there will be a lot of noise from all the corrupt individuals in every institution. They might lead protests too, but you have to stand by me. We have to beat them to save this nation.

“You have to stand by me and never vote those who have stashed their assets abroad,” he said.

The PM said he held the Ministry of Interior with himself, hence the Federal Investigation Agency would also work under his supervision among other institutions.

He said the newly-elected government would make sure that criminal cases were solved maximum in one year. Stressing swift justice specially for widows, he said the widows were the most affected of poor judiciary system.

On local government system, he said through the local government, the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa devolved powers to lower level and established an exemplary system of the LG in the country.

He vowed to give better transportation system to Karachi, fulfill its need of water and ensure cleanliness.

Concluding his speech, he said his vision was that the day will come when when we will not have people who will be in need of Zakat. And we will, Insha Allah, be that country that will help other countries in need.

A cricket legend and firebrand nationalist, Khan swept to power in last month’s election on a populist platform vowing to root out corruption among a venal elite and lift people out of poverty.

Khan assumed the office of the chief executive of the country after taking oath at an impressive but simple ceremony at President House.

Khan’s PTI won the general election on July 25 promising to fight corruption and drastically reduce poverty among Pakistan’s 208 million people.

Wearing a traditional black sherwani, in the style of his hero and Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Khan recited the oath of office and vowed to respect the constitution.

“I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan,” Khan read from the oath, standing next to President Mamnoon Hussain.

Later, he was given a guard of honor on the lawns of the prime minister’s house.

Khan easily defeated rival Shehbaz Sharif from the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), garnering 176 votes to Sharif’s 96 votes.

The oath-taking was attended by scores of Pakistani celebrities, sportsmen, and politicians, as well as former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who serves as tourism minister for India’s Punjab province.

Read More: Promises, promises, Imran Khan raises Pakistani hopes sky high

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