PM Imran Khan announces slashing prices of petrol & diesel per liter by Rs 10 till next budget
Also announces decreasing electricity price by Rs 5 per unit till next budget
Urges people to not vote for a party, whose leader is involved in corruption as such party cannot pursue an independent foreign policy
Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced slashing prices of petroleum products and electricity to provide relief to the people.
In his address to the nation on Monday, PM Imran Khan said prices of petrol and diesel will be reduced by 10 rupees per litre and electricity by 5 rupees per unit. The prices of petrol, diesel and electricity will not be increased against till the next budget.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also announced to award internship to all jobless graduates worth 30,000 rupees per month. He said 26,000 scholarships, costing 38 billion rupees will be given to students.
He said his recent visits to China and Russia will have far reaching impact on country’s economy.
The Prime Minister said we are going to import two million tons of wheat and gas from Russia, while we have better understanding on the second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Imran Khan said he believes in an independent policy in the best interest of the people of Pakistan. He urged the people to not vote for a party, whose leader is involved in corruption as such party cannot pursue an independent foreign policy.
“I received a summary from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and they recommended increasing the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs10 due to the rise in the price in global markets,” he said.
“So today I want to tell you guys this good news that, instead of increasing it, we will decrease [petrol prices] by Rs10.”
In the same way, he said that electricity was also being made from imported fuel which had caused prices to soar. Regretting the fact that past governments did not invest in building dams, he said the PTI government is constructing 10 dams which would save the country from global price fluctuations.
“We have also decided to decrease electricity prices by Rs5 per unit. This means that there will be a 20-25 per cent decrease in you electricity bills.”
He said that there would be no increase in petrol and electricity prices until the next budget.
Talking about the cash handouts given to the people under the Ehsaas programme, the premier said that it had increased from Rs12,000 to Rs14,000. In addition, graduates would be given internships and paid Rs30,000, he added, without elaborating further.
He reiterated that the IT sector, which included companies and freelancers, had been exempted from paying taxes, adding that they would also not face any restrictions on foreign exchange. Further, IT startups no longer have to pay capital gains tax, he said.
Talking about industries, the prime minister said that anyone wishing to set up an industry in Pakistan or invest would not be “asked any questions”. He said that he would announce a complete package for this sector later.
Moreover, overseas Pakistanis who invest in industries or carry out a joint venture will get a five-year tax holiday, he said.
Under the Kamyab Jawan programme, he said that the country’s youth and farmers would be given interest-free loans while needy people would also be given subsidised loans to build homes. “Loans worth Rs407 billion will be disbursed during two years.”
The prime minister expressed satisfaction at the fact that banks had been persuaded to give loans to llow-income citizens, noting that so far they had approved Rs150bn in loans.
Wrapping up his address, the premier said that he had informed the chief ministers of the provinces that health insurance was a big blessing for low-income families.
“When illness strikes, they should not have the fear that they cannot get treated at a hospital. Often times they go to government hospitals and there are no doctors and nurses.”
PM Imran Khan said that every household in Punjab would have the sehat card by the end of March, allowing them to avail medical treatment of up to Rs1 million at any hospital. “A health system is being created in Pakistan. Small hospitals are being constructed in the villages.”
“Lastly, I want to say to the nation that I know that these are difficult times. I know that there have been difficulties one after the year during the last three-and-a-half years […] but my government is always thinking about how to lessen the burden on you,” he said, ending his address by saying that the country and the economy were headed in the right direction.
PM Imran Khan began his speech by talking about the country’s foreign policy, stating that the situation in the world was changing which subsequently had an effect on Pakistan. He said that his parents were born in an “enslaved India” which made him realise how lucky he was to be born in a free country as he was growing up.
“From the day I entered politics, I wanted a free and independent foreign policy. This means that a nation drafts a policy that benefits the country,” he said.
Highlighting an example of the “wrong foreign policy”, he said that Pakistan had participated in the American ‘war on terror’. “From day one, I said that we should not have participated [in the US war],” he said, adding that it did not ultimately benefit the country as 80,000 Pakistanis were martyred.
“The most embarrassing part was that, for the first time in history, a country was fighting in support of a country that was bombing it.”
He said that there were only 10 drone attacks during the government of former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf, but almost 400 during the rule of democratic leaders such as Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari.
Circling back to a free independent foreign policy, PM Imran Khan said that these democratic leaders should have taken a stand against the US. “Neither of them issued a single statement,” he said, adding that an American journalist quoted Zardari as saying to America’s army chief that he was not affected by the collateral damage from drone attacks.
He noted that the assets of Russian billionaires stashed abroad had been frozen by the West since the Kremlin began its invasion of Ukraine.
“I want to tell my nation that if you want an independent foreign policy, you should never vote for a party whose leaders have properties and assets abroad. They will never draft an independent foreign policy.”
Touching on his visit to China, the premier said that Pakistan received a lot of respect. About his trip to Russia, he said that it was necessary to visit Moscow as Pakistan needed to import wheat as well as for cooperation in the energy sector.
The premier also defended the amendments to the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), 2016, dismissing criticism that it was being used to curb media freedom. “The PECA law was made in 2016. We are only amending it.”
He said that a leader of a country who was not corrupt or had not broken the law would never be in danger from a free media. “Today, 70 per cent of the news is against us. This has no effect on us, but there is a reason why we have brought this law.”
The premier said “filth” was being shared on social media in the country, such as child pornography.
He regretted that he was also not being spared, recalling that a few years ago a journalist had reported that his wife had left him and that he had “done something illegal” at his Bani Gala residence.
“I filed a case in the courts. It has been three years, but the prime minister has not been able to get justice and the same journalist now writes that my wife has left the house. If this can happen with the country’s prime minister … imagine what would happen with the rest of the people.”
Meanwhile Prime Minister Imran Khan received Archbishop of Canterbury at Islamabad on Monday.
The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of interfaith harmony, religious tolerance and affinity amongst the peoples of different faiths. He reiterated his government’s resolve to protect the rights of minorities as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.
The Prime Minister conveyed that Pakistan was a culturally diverse country and is home to various religious minorities including Hindus and Christians and all of them are living peacefully and contributing to the development of Pakistan. He lamented that minorities in India, including Muslims were being subjected to worst kind of religious discrimination and intolerance.
The Prime Minister shared that his government has established Rehmatul lil Alameen Authority to promote true message of Islam which is inter faith harmony and peaceful co-existence of mankind.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said that religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence of mankind is need of the hour. Earlier the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby participated at the Sunday mass at Peshawar’s All Saints Church and delivered a message of peace and religious harmony.