PM says right time to take tough decisions

Pakistan stands shoulder to shoulder with Kashmiris: PM

Shehbaz Sharif says fully committed to increase tax to GDP ratio n Announces setting up of cell to protect women n Reiterates full support to Asif Zardari.


ISLAMABAD/MUZAFARABAD  -  Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday reiterated the government’s resolve to steer the country out of the challenge of economic crisis by bring­ing structural reforms in the econom­ic sector to provide maximum facili­ties to the people of the country. 

He said that the government was fully committed to increase tax to GDP ratio, tap the huge potential of natural and agriculture resources, stop smuggling, power theft, and losses of the State Owned Entities. 

Addressing a cheque distribution ceremony among the affected people by torrential rains and snowfall in the area, the prime minister called for setting aside all the differences in the larger national interest to work as a nation to ensure that the country was developing at a faster pace. 

Currently, he said the country’s tax collection target for the current fis­cal year was 1.2 trillion which was not up to the true potential due to tax evasion by certain sections. He said tax evasion was one of the biggest challenges that would to be resolved to increase the country’s resources. “If we have no resources, how we will build the infrastructure of health, education and other im­portant sectors,” he maintained. 

He said even the salaries of the federal employees were being paid with the borrowed money. Therefore, he said this was the right time to take tough and im­portant decisions to resolve all the key challenges, the country was facing. As regards the loss­es of SOEs, the prime minister informed that the SOEs were incurring losses of hundreds of billions rupees as the loss of only Pakistan International Air­lines (PIA) was around Rs 825 billion. Similarly, he said the country lost Rs 500 billion every year to power theft. 

Talking about the losses and damages occurred due to recent rains, snowfalls and land slid­ing in AJ&K, the prime minister expressed his grief and sorrow over the loss of eight precious lives and prayed for the grant of eternal peace to the departed soul and early recovery of those injured in the incidents. 

He said that the government of Pakistan always stood with its Kashmiri brothers and sisters in the hour of need. On the occa­sion, he also distributed cheques among the affected people. He said Rs 2 million each would be distributed among the families of the deceased and Rs 500,000 each to those injured in the re­cent incidents. Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan will contin­ue to stand shoulder to shoul­der with the Kashmiris in their just struggle for their inalien­able right to self-determination. 

He expressed the resolve during his meeting with Prime Minis­ter of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhry Anwar-ul-Haq during his visit to Muzaffarabad. The Prime Minister also assured Pa­kistan’s unconditional support to the Prime Minister of Azad Jam­mu and Kashmir for the Kashmir cause. Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister of Azad Kash­mir congratulated Shehbaz Shar­if on assuming the office of the Prime Minister of Pakistan and expressed his best wishes. He also thanked Shehbaz Sharif for un­dertaking the visit of Azad Kash­mir immediately after assuming the office of the Prime Minister.

He said the visit of Shehbaz Sharif to express solidarity with the Kashmiris, affected by tor­rential rains, reflects that hearts of Pakistani people always throb with their Kashmiri brethren.

ALSO, Prime Minister Sheh­baz Sharif Friday said the gov­ernment was fully committed to empower youth, particularly women by providing them bet­ter facilities of education, vo­cational training, and the lat­est technology tools so that they could help propel Pakistan on the road to economic progress.

He was speaking at a ceremo­ny to give away “Khatun-e-Paki­stan Awards” on the occasion of the International Women Day. He congratulated the award win­ners and lauded them for making the name of Pakistan prominent among nations with their efforts and significant contributions.

He said the government was making its utmost efforts to fa­cilitate the female population of the country and protect their rights. International Women’s Day was observed around the world to acknowledge the im­portant role of women in soci­ety and Pakistan was not far be­hind others in providing rights and facilities to women, he add­ed. He said Pakistan needed to make more policy interventions and provide more resources and opportunities to women. 

“We have to provide more op­portunities and resources for ed­ucation and training of women.” He noted that women all around the world were contributing to the progress and welfare of so­ciety, adding there was a need to give women equal opportunities and a better environment at the workplaces so that they could easily contribute to economic progress and development.

He expressed the hope that the provincial governments would take forward the policies for women that were introduced and implemented in the past. He pledged to make all resources available for women so that they could equip themselves with the latest technology tools. “Women can help make Pakistan a great nation by utilising all available resources,” he remarked.

PM Shehbaz recalled that their previous government passed the law for the inheritance of wom­en, launched Zewar e Taleem programme to retain girl stu­dents in schools by giving them scholarships, adding the pro­gramme was

a great success story and helped in spreading education.

Similarly, Punjab Education Endowment Fund distributed Rs 20 billion among brilliant stu­dents who achieved distinction in their education, he said.

He said now the government would establish the Pakistan Education Endowment Fund to support students who excel in their studies but have limited re­sources to continue further.

His previous government in Punjab also trained youth through vocational programmes in different areas with the coop­eration of United Kingdom’s De­partment for International De­velopment, he recalled.

“We have to take forward these programmes so that the nation can move ahead and achieve prosperity.” The prime minister said the government would en­courage students to gain mod­ern education in the fields of ar­tificial intelligence, science and technology.

The government was deter­mined to support youth by pro­viding them with modern gad­gets as it was an investment for the nation, he remarked. 

The PM said Islam accorded rights to women 14 centuries back, adding these rights were clearly laid down by the Proph­et Muhammad (PBUH) and the Holy Quran. He appreciated po­lice officer ASP Shehr Bano Naqvi for becoming a symbol of cour­age and responsibility by saving a girl in a difficult situation.

He said a cell would be estab­lished at the highest level to pro­tect women from harassment and violence.

Earlier, the prime minister gave away awards to women who achieved distinction and led the trail for others in the fields of education, social welfare, sports, public service, health, agriculture, technology, econo­my, cricket and mountaineering. Parliamentarians, diplomats, high-ranking officers and wom­en from different walks of life participated in the ceremony.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif attended the dinner given by Chairman Paki­stan People’s Party Bilawal Bhu­tto Zardari in Islamabad on Fri­day in honour of the heads and leaders of coalition parties, sen­ators and elected members. The prime minister reiterated his full support to Asif Ali Zardari in the presidential elections.

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