LAHORE: Federal Minister for Planning Prof Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government during its previous tenure launched significant uplift projects, eliminated terrorism, overcome power outage, revived economy and achieved other milestones for the progress and prosperity of the country.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of newly constructed building of the Department of Energy and Environment Engineering, University of the Punjab, he said that it was pleasing to see completion of Energy & Environment Department’s project which was approved during the PML-N’s previous tenure.
He said that in 2013 before the PML-N government, the country was facing severe economic challenges, power outage, terrorism, and the international media was labelling Pakistan as most dangerous country in the world but the PML-N after coming into power adopted comprehensive strategies to restore the country’s image, eliminate terrorism, overcome load shedding and revive economy of the country.
The Minister said the PML-N government in 2013 had introduced a policy of 3Es – Energy sources and solutions, elimination of extremism and economic revival to put the country on road to development and progress which was successfully achieved as more than 11,000 megawatt electricity was generated and added to the national grid only in four years, taking out the country from darkness. It was a historic achievement as no government in 65 years could generate and add such electricity capacity in the system, he maintained. Ahsan Iqbal said that for action against terrorism and extremism, the security forces and law enforcement agencies were provided all resources and support to eliminate terrorism and ensure peace in the country, adding that officials of security forces had rendered great sacrifices in war against terrorism and successfully eliminated the terrorism from the country.
Due to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a number of foreign companies had shown interest in making investment in CPEC projects, while the foreign investors declared Pakistan safe heaven for foreign investment, he asserted.
The PML-N government had launched projects to construct roads and motorways of 2,000 kilometers, besides setting up campuses of universities even in under developed areas of the country for imparting higher education to the youth, he maintained. Ahsan Iqbal said that some elements could not digest the country’s development and prosperity so they hatched a conspiracy against the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and got him disqualified for not taking salary from his son, adding that their only agenda was to halt the country’s progress and uplift.
The Minister said that today was the era of digital media and information technology, but it was needed to evaluate the material, narrative or propaganda being promoted on social media against the country and institutions, so that it could not manipulate or control our behaviours.
Organized efforts were being made to polarize and confuse the society through social media delusion and hate for achieving particular agendas, he added. Ahsan Iqbal said that previous PTI government had shrunk the development budget to Rs 550 billion from Rs 1,000 billion, however the PML-N after coming into power once again increased the development budget to Rs 1,100 billion.
The Minister stressed the need for changing the lifestyles as a collective measure to revive country’s economic situation and make a balance between country’s income and expenditures ratio, asserting that country’s debt burden needed to be decreased, otherwise, poverty rate could escalate till 2025. He highlighted that present government had evolved a framework of 5Es- Export led growth, E-Pakistan or digitalization, Environment, Energy and Equity in empowerment to make country self reliant after exploring new methods and resources for development, maintaining that the country was vulnerable to climate change impacts so efforts were required to find new energy sources and upgrade the existing one which could also ease Pakistan’s energy debts. If such framework including lifestyle change was implemented successfully, the poverty rate could decline to 15 percent and Pakistan could sustain high growth and become economy of one trillion till 2025, he outlined.
He also stressed the need for refresher courses for instructors and special entrepreneur courses for all undergraduate students so that latest knowledge about contemporary trends and market needs could be imparted to the student who were future of the country. The Minister said that educational institutes should have to play their role in guiding towards proper and latest solutions of the issues including energy being face by the country on basis of research and experiment based knowledge. Digital media should be focused for exploring new opportunities including employment and entrepreneurship, he added. Responding to questions, Ahsan Iqbal said that economic revival was the priority of the government so all efforts were being made to achieve this target for providing maximum relief to the people. The Minister said that PTI leadership was involved in instigating miscreants to attack on Jinnah House so the cases registered against them would reach to the logical conclusion.
He said the PTI leadership was involved in launch of organized campaign against institutions and national interests of the country, maintaining that the PTI leadership was lobbying to damage the country’s image at international level just to achieve their personal interests.
Punjab Higher Education Commission Chairman Prof. Dr. Shahid Munir, PU vice chancellor and other faculty members were also present.(APP)