PM launches Digital Youth Hub

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday launched a Digital Youth Hub portal to provide integrated and one-stop guidance on the youth-related initiatives launched by the government.
In his address, the prime minister congratulated the youth on the launch of the facility and assured that the government was expanding Youth Program across the country as laptops and business loans were being disbursed across the country. He told the gathering that Rs 30 billion had already been disbursed by the banks to youth in the form of business loans. He said Rs 80 billion had been specified for youth-related initiatives including IT programs, freelancing, IT incubators and others, besides another Rs 5 billion allocated for sports projects.
Prime Minister Shehbaz said he had replicated his idea of an Endowment Fund at the federal level as an Education Endowment Fund had been set up with Rs5 billion funding. He said the facilities like laptops and other funding initiatives were only meant for the high achievers of the public sector universities. The prime minister asked the youngsters to register themselves at the portal to avail the available facilities.
The prime minister thanked SAPM Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Lt General Senator Abdul Qayyum, vice-chancellors, and members of the Youth Parliament for their efforts to uplift youth. He assured the participants of continuing his efforts to empower youth to make Pakistan a great country. The prime minister told the Azerbaijan Ambassador, also attending the ceremony, that a horticultural delegation from his country had visited Islamabad and shared experiences with the CDA which would be replicated in Islamabad.
As the prime minister asked youth representatives to express their emotions, Abdul Hakeem of Youth Parliament and Muhammad Shehzad of Pakistan Youth Council arose to laud the leadership of the prime minister for steering the country out of economic crisis within 15 months period. They spoke against the efforts to fan polarisation in society and urged the youth to utilise their energies for productive causes. Both of the youth leaders assured the prime minister of their role in the country’s development and resolved to fully back the government in any cause of nation-building. Special Assistant to PM Shaza Fatima Khawaja told the gathering that the government had allocated Rs 5 billion for skill development and as much amount for sports-related programs.
She said the Digital Youth Hub was the culmination of all of the prime minister’s initiatives for the youth he had taken during last few months which were actually the manifestation of Shehbaz Speed. She said the Portal was the one-stop shop and mobile application providing guidance on all initiatives like laptops, scholarships, and loans. In his address, Senator Abdul Qayyum said the youth of Pakistan were enlightened and read out Quaid-e-Azam’s sayings apprising youth of their responsibilities for national development. He said the country could never achieve progress without skill-training its youth. He said in its respective tenures, the PML-N government built efficient infrastructure and also forged friendly ties with the international world.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the introduction of a health insurance facility for journalists and artists was a step forward to achieving the milestone of an equitable Pakistan as dreamt by Quaid-e-Azam.
He was addressing the ceremony of agreement signing between the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and State Life Insurance Corporation for providing health insurance cards to journalists, media workers, and artists as well as technical workers associated with the film industry. The prime minister said the agreement was of utmost importance as it addressed the media men and artists who worked hard, even sometimes during tough working conditions, but remained deprived of basic amenities in their lives.
However, the government would provide them with health insurance coverage through budgetary allocations under the PM Program. Calling her a “moving spirit” the prime minister appreciated the key role of Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyu Aurangzeb to launch the said insurance facility. He recalled that during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure, health insurance card was launched on a massive scale, and at that time, the Punjab government also implemented his vision.
He said the health insurance card was a gift for the downtrodden people who could not afford costly medical treatments. The prime minister said no one would have objected to the previous government’s health insurance facility if it was not meant to patronise the private hospitals. He said the across-the-board facility was misused as even some greedy healthy people misused that card to mint money, in connivance with the hospitals. The prime minister shared that in 2003 he suffered a fatal disease and had to spend around Rs8 million at a US hospital which was in no way affordable for the poor.
He said in order to provide equitable health facilities, Nawaz Sharif had established Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute where 1,000 liver and kidney transplant procedures had been completed. The facility provides free treatment to the poor and charges the rich ones to help provide cross-subsidy. He said the Nawaz Sharif-led government also introduced free medicine facilities at hospitals. “This is the human service… This is the equality for which Pakistan was made but this is still a far cry,” he remarked.
He also lamented the suspension of free CT scan facilities provided at the district level, while he was Punjab chief minister, as the government had signed an agreement with private companies which installed the machinery and operated it successfully. The prime minister also instructed the SLIC to provide efficient services to health insurance cardholders through hassle-free procedures. In her address, Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that under the historic decision, Rs 1 billion each had been allocated for health insurance of journalists and artists. She said as the registration process had already been started, the prime minister would also inaugurate the distribution of health cards by August 7. She said the health insurance facility was in continuation of the Health Card program launched by Nawaz Sharif’s government. She said the government had also made necessary legislation to link the journalists’ salaries with the business of the media entities. The minister told the gathering that health card would cover ambulance service, cardiac and other surgeries.
“This is a whole package of the welfare of artists and journalists,” she remarked. Besides, the government had also recovered Rs120 million of journalists’ salaries from media organizations. The information minister said the health insurance facility was also the continuity of the prime minister’s efforts to revive the economy and programs like CPEC, BISP, Metro services and health insurance. Earlier, Principal Information Officer Mubashir Hassan and Executive Director SLIC Shahid Iqbal Baloch signed the agreement for health insurance facility for journalists and media workers. Director General DEMP Samina Farzin and Divisional Director SLIC Ashar inked the agreement for the health insurance facility to artists and technical workers.
PM for national resolve, efforts to revive Pakistan’s grandeur: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged the nation to make determined and concerted efforts to make Pakistan regain its grandeur and stature and compete with the world. The prime minister, addressing the inauguration ceremony of Bhara Kahu Bypass here, said the country’s eastern neighbour had moved far ahead but nothing was to worry about if the nation was resolved to take the country forward as was dreamt by Quaid-e-Azam and pursued by Nawaz Sharif in 1990s. Started in October 2022, the project was executed by NLC within nine months’ time, costing Rs 6.25 billion. It has removed a major bottleneck for millions of commuters travelling to Muree, Kashmir, and Galliyat from across the destination, besides remarkably reducing their travel time.
The prime minister, who inaugurated the project, said throughout his political career and during all of his interactions, his only intention had been to serve the poor masses who had been faced with tough conditions of life. But, he said the previous governments had been wasting billions of rupees from the national kitty by impeding public projects, and exemplified Haveli Bahadur Shah Power Plant which was stopped despite having spent billions of rupees which otherwise could have been used for public interest project. Calling the Bahara Kahu bypass’s inauguration a moment of satisfaction, the prime minister said the project would ease the difficulties of travellers of Islamabad, Punjab and KP visiting AJK and Galliyat. He said the project should have been completed years ago but the incumbent conceived it and managed to accomplish it within nine months despite challenges including a land dispute with Quaid-e-Azam University which was settled through court. The prime minister said he had given a three-month target for the project completion which was also achievable had there been no challenges.
He said Bhara Kahu Bypass was also the vision of Nawaz Sharif whose government was removed through the “worst conspiracy” and the projects of his government were impeded. He said the government completed the Metro Bus Project within no time which had been suspended by the previous government. He told the gathering that after the opening of LCs the environment-friendly electric buses were set to reach Islamabad for the facilitation of the residents of Islamabad.
The prime minister instructed the CDA to plant a million trees around the Bhara Kahu Bypass, though around 70,000 have already been planted. The prime minister thanked the party leadership for their support and contribution to the project and instructed the CDA to beautify Islamabad like Baku of Azerbaijan. He also appreciated the Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir for his dedicated support for the project. In her address, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb recalled the journey of progress marked by determined and resolved efforts by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during last 15 months.
She said the prime minister managed to revive the course of development which was initiated by the PML-N government in its previous tenure but was obstructed by the previous government. She said within a short span of 15 months, the incumbent government provided relief to the people from across the country, be it free flour distribution or relief works during floods. The prime minister turned the instability into economic prosperity, she added. She appreciated the prime minister for reviving the journey of economic development that had been initiated by Nawaz.