LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said he finds it surprising the Opposition is fearful of a machine, referring to the electronic voting machine the government aims to introduce prior to the next general elections so voting can take place “transparently”.
Imran Khan said he was proud of his government to take initiatives with regard to saving the future of coming generations, instead of pursuing the approach of gaining votes in elections.
He said the government addressed the challenges of pollution, deforestation, water scarcity and food shortage compared with the previous rulers who had spent extravagantly on roads construction at inflated rates at the cost of public expense.
He was addressing at the ground-breaking ceremony of 128-kilometre Lilla-Jhelum dual carriageway, which will be completed in 30 months at a cost of Rs.16 billion and will connect Khushab, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujrat and Mirpur regions.
Imran Khan said a country could not make progress if its rulers ignored its people and limited their strategy to gain votes.
He mentioned that after fifty years, the country was getting three big dams as the government realized the imminent challenge of shortage of water.
He pointed out that due to the apathy of previous governments, the ruthless tree-cutting had turned several cities including Lahore, once used to be called as City of Gardens, into a concrete jungle.
The prime minister said his government had planted around 2.5 billion trees with a target of 10 billion in coming years.
During the pandemic, he said, the prudent policies of the government had acclaimed global recognition in line with the decisions of the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC).
“I am proud of our team that has helped the country sail smoothly through the challenge of the century,” he said.
The prime minister expressed confidence that the government would effectively overcome the passing phase of inflation as a result of the global situation.
“In the coming days, we are going to announce a big package to give relief to the common man,” he said.
After completion of the five-year tenure, he said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would emerge successful in the eyes of public by achieving the goals of development and prosperity.
Imran Khan gave a comparison of the expensive road construction of 645 kilometres during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-N compared with the 1,750 km road network made during the PTI tenure.
He said on the construction of two-lane roads, the cost incurred during PTI government was 33.37 percent less compared with PML-N, up to 53 percent less on four-lane highways, and 19.6 percent less on four-lane motorways.
“No country can prosper if its leaders are indulged in corruption and there is no rule of law,” he regretted.
On Lilla-Jhelum road, he said the project would help promote tourism in the area, boost farm to the market supply of agricultural produce, enhance employment opportunities and strengthen economic development.
Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar said the Lilla-Jhelum road would provide business and trade opportunities to the people, particularly of north Punjab.
He mentioned that under the District Development Programme, around 103 projects worth Rs 11.3 billion were being carried out in Jhelum.
He said the Punjab government in collaboration with Asian Development Bank would construct four roads of 5,006 kilometres in length.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Member of National Assembly from Jhelum, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Lilla-Jhelum road would connect Grand Trunk road with motorway. For this, the traffic from Kashmir will not need to pass through Rawalpindi to go to Lahore and Karachi.
This will make Jhelum and suburbs a periphery of Islamabad and will promote development, he added.
He mentioned that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan in three years had helped revive the industries and also facilitated farmers.