Deep fissures in PDM lead to postponement of Long March

LAHORE: Simmering differences in the unnatural eleven-party alliance PDM on Tuesday erupted, leading to the postponement of the much-touted long march against the government and exposed the deep fissures running underneath.

LAHORE, March 16, 2021 (APP):Simmering differences in the unnatural eleven-party alliance – PDM on Tuesday erupted, leading to the postponement of the much-touted long march against the government and exposed the deep fissures running underneath. A six-hour-long meeting of the alliance at the PML-N Secretariat concluded after its failure to agree on the decision of tendering resignations from the parliament, before the start of the oft-delayed Long March, owing to major differences between the Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan Peoples Party.

Maulana Fazalur Rehman, the leader of JUI-F and President of the PDM announced that nine out of eleven parties were in favour of resignations from the parliament before the start of the march. However, he said the Pakistan Peoples Party had “reservations” over the matter and wanted to take up the issue in its meeting of the Central Executive Committee. “We have given them the chance and we will wait for their decision. Until then, the March 26 long march be considered postponed,” Maulana Fazalur Rehman said and left the press conference, despite being asked by Maryam to respond to questions.

A visibly shaken Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Vice President of the PMLN said she cannot endanger her father’s life by asking him to return. “No one has the right to ask him to be here,” she said and added that she wanted her father to live. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif who was undergoing a sentence was allowed by the PTI government to travel to London for “urgent medical treatment” in November 2019, however, since then he neither had any treatment there nor returned to the country, despite a surety bond by his brother Shahbaz Sharif. He has since been declared an absconder.

Earlier Asif Ali Zardari in his virtual address to the meeting had asked the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan and said that he has to understand that to lead the march, all the leadership might have to end up in jail. Sources said Zardari said that his party would hand over the resignations when Nawaz Sharif returns. Zardari earlier at a public speech in Garhi Khuda Bux had sent a cryptic message to the PDM alliance – “listen to us … learn from us”, advice not taken by the PDM leadership, which wanted to micromanage the campaign to oust the sitting PTI government.

The PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said her party has millions of followers and no one wants to put the life of Nawaz Sharif in danger. She said her party would continue to seek his advice and guidance and follow his vision. Former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said his party has asked for time from the PDM to ponder over the demand for tendering resignations and added that in the last CEC the party had decided to follow the parliamentary way. The announcement by the PDM, touted by the PTI leadership as a public dissolution of the alliance, was hailed by the ruling party and allies. Asad Umar in a tweet said Peoples Party was unwilling to resign from posts, Maulana unwilling for a long march without resignations, and Mian sahib unwilling to return led to the end of the movement.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the PDM stands shattered as its “revolutionary” long march stands postponed. “The opposition parties while striving for their petty interests, ended up fighting each other,” he said in a tweet. According to Senator Faisal Javed Khan “it’s all curtains for PDM.” Earlier during the press conference when a similar question was put to Maryam Nawaz Sharif, she said “PDM is standing in front of you … we are also standing with each other and will cooperate.”

A video that viral soon after the comments of Asif Ali Zardari in the meeting showed reporters in London seeking reaction of Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, however, in his usual style he brushed aside the question and said he saw Zardari’s remarks, as the reporters saw it. There have been serious differences in the PDM alliance for quite some time, particularly over the issue of resignations and the Pakistan Peoples Party, which has its provincial government in Sindh, had categorically rejected the idea.

New differences emerged during the Senate polls, where both the major parties eyed each other with inherent suspicions leading to lots of blame game,  over who stabbed the other in the back. According to political analysts, PPP believed that the PML-N faction led by Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazalur Rehman, were on a suicide mission, as they have nothing to lose, but for the PPP, it still has around the half term in power, albeit in Sindh alone. The party also did well in by-polls and Senate elections.

Masood accuses India of misguiding world about ground realities in IIOJK

MIRPUR (AJK): Feb 05, 2021(APP,LPP): Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan on Friday said India was misguiding the European governments and the US administration as well as decision-making institutions that Delhi was fighting against terrorists in occupied Kashmir. “The reality is somewhat different and India in fact is crushing defenceless, weak and unarmed Kashmiri people, and depriving them of their homeland, businesses and livelihood and engaged in the genocide of the inhabitants of the disputed territory,” he stressed.

He was addressing the Kashmir Solidarity Conference organized Faheem Kiani President Tehrik e Kashmir by through video link, which was also participated and addressed by more than 40-plus UK members of Parliament (MPs) and leaders of the Kashmiri community living in Britain, according to AJK President Office. The UK MPs, who spoke on occasion and expressed solidarity with the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, were included, Robbie Moore MP, Gill Furniss MP Tony Lloyd MP, Steve Baker MP, Nadia Whittome MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Richard Burgon MP, Stephen Timms MP, Sarah Owen MP, Rachel Hopkins MP, Paul Bristow MP,

James Daly MP, Kate Hollern MP, Andrew Gwynne MP, Sara Britcliffe MP, Afzal Khan MP, Alison Thewliss MP, Rebecca Longbailey MP, Imran Hussain MP, John Spellar MP, Shabana Mahmood MP, Tahir Ali MP, Sam Tarry MP, Lillian Greenwood MP. Phil Bennion Former MEP, Liam Byrne MP, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP, Lord Wajid Khan, Debbie Abraham MP, Hilary Benn MP, Paul Blomfield MP and Cheryl Gillan MP. The AJK president exhorted them to use their influence, and convey to the governments of the Western countries that if they failed to block the Indian military adventurism, the rule of law and the world order would no longer be in place in the world.

Tragically, he maintained that India was committing the crimes against humanity, and at the same time, it wanted that the world should not speak about its guilt. Such attitude of India should not be acceptable to the world at all. The AJK president expressed gratitude to the UK and the European parliaments, media and the civil society for supporting the Kashmir cause, but he also complained that the powerful governments of those countries were silent over the Indian repression and the worst violations of human rights as well as the genocide of Kashmiri people at the hands of the Indian Army, and are thus showing negligence towards their international obligations.

“Their silence is encouraging India to trample human rights in Kashmir,” he added. He asserted that the UK MPs must not support the Kashmiri people mere to seek votes from the Kashmiri community in their constituencies but they should support the Kashmiri people because they were being deprived of their civil liberties and rights. Sardar Masood Khan suggested that economic sanctions should be imposed on India for committing crimes against humanity in occupied Kashmir, and the Western countries should avoid making an investment in India until and unless it is ready to grant the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people.

He prevailed upon the UN Security Council, the UN secretary-general and the UN Human Rights Commission to immediately take notice of the situation prevailing occupied Kashmir as it is posing a serious threat to peace and security of not only the region but the entire world. He reminded that both Pakistan and India are nuclear states, and the Indian brutalities are bringing both the countries close to a nuclear clash.

President Tehrik Kashmir and host of the Solidarity Faheem Kiani in his welcome address thanked, especially the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the British Parliamentarians for attending this Kashmir Solidarity Conference and expressing solidarity with the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir who living in the most militarized area in the world under brutal Indian occupation, Subjugation and oppression for last 73 years.

He said that you all know what the Indian Army is doing to Kashmiris in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Army has killed thousands of Kashmiris and is using rape as a weapon of war in Kashmir. Kashmir, that needs your attention. He said we have seen genocidal fascists emerge throughout history like Hitler, Mussolini and many others. In places like Rwanda and the Balkans, we have seen firsthand what happens when the world turns a blind eye. It is imperative that MPs play their role in preventing a repeat of history before it is too late.

A delegation of All Parties Hurriyat Conference headed by Ishtiaq Hamid also called on President Arif Alvi. Talking to the delegation, the Pakistan president declared the APHC leaders as heroes and said they can narrate the true story of the Kashmiris’ plight. and more effectively advocate the international community about the Kashmir cause. The Hurriyat leadership thanked the president Pakistan for coming to Azad Kashmir and expressing solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiri people. They said the words of President of Pakistan have emboldened the whole population of IIOJK.

Solidarity Day observed across Pakistan with renewed commitment to support Kashmiris’ just cause

ISLAMABAD, Feb 5, 2021(APP,LPP): The entire nation came out on Friday to observe the Kashmir Solidarity Day with renewed commitment to support the just struggle of Kashmiris for their inalienable right to self-determination enshrined in the relevant resolutions of United Nations Security Council (UNSC). With a renewed pledge, the Pakistani nation and the government reaffirmed that they would continue to extend their moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris in their difficult times.

People from different walks of life, including politicians, doctors, lawyers, social activists, students and others held rallies and demonstrations, and formed human chains across the country to infuse new spirit in the Kashmiris, who were fighting for their freedom. All the Pakistani missions abroad also organized seminars and photo exhibitions to draw the world’s attention towards the worst form of subjugation and human rights violations, committed by India in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK).

Posters highlighting the plight of besieged Kashmiris were displayed across the country including airports, railways stations and national highways. The Solidarity Day also remained a top trend on social media as thousands of the users of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram paid tributes to the Kashmiris’ struggle. President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet members visited the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to express solidarity with the Kashmir brethren on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day.

Addressing the AJK Legislative Assembly, President Alvi said the resolution of Kashmir dispute as per the pledges of United Nations was the “only option” to ensure peace in South Asia. Mentioning that India had illegally inhabited its 3.3 million civilians in Kashmir to change the demography of highly populated Muslim area, he asked New Delhi to stop unabated acts of genocide and demographic changes in the IIJOK. Prime Minister Imran Khan told a huge gathering at Kotli (AJK) that India could never win over the resolute Kashmiri people by using force as implementation of the UNSC resolutions guaranteeing right to self-determination to them, was the only solution.

“The world history tells that no army could ever win over a population. When a nation stood united, it defeated even the powerful armies. The United States, a super power could not win in Vietnam… No super power could win in Afghanistan… France could not win over population in Algeria,” he remarked. Reiterating his commitment to raise the Kashmiris’ voice across the world as “Ambassador of Kashmir”, the prime minister said instead of suppressing the Kashmiri people, Narendra Modi’s Hindutva ideology would destroy the Indian society.

He thanked the people of Kotli for warm reception and said he was there to remind the world community of their unfulfilled commitment of granting self-determination right to the Kashmiri people enshrined in the UNSC resolutions. Paying salute to Kashmiris for their valiant struggle, braving gravest atrocities, human rights violations and lockdown in IIOJK under Indian occupation forces, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said it was the time to end the human tragedy and resolve the Kashmir issue as per aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and the UN resolutions.

Talking to the media, AJK President Sardar Masood Khan expressed confidence that the IIOJK would be free one day. The world community should become an effective voice of innocent Kashmiris, who had been braving the worst Indian brutalities for their just right to self-determination, he added. Sardar Massod said India had virtually turned the entire occupied valley into an open prison and the whole world had now started realizing the gravity of human rights situation in IIOJK.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi asked the international observers and foreign media to visit both parts of Kashmir for getting first hand information about normalcy at the Pakistan side and the worsening human rights situation in the IIOJK. He made those remarks while addressing to the Kashmir Solidarity rally here in the Federal Capital. Meanwhile, Shah Mahmood Qureshi approached the UNSC President and the UN Secretary General to apprise them of India’s continuing gross and systematic violations of human rights in the IIOJK.

The foreign minister, in his letter addressed to the UNSC President and the UN Secretary General, underscored that all unilateral and illegal measures taken by India in the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir in violation of international law, including relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the 4th Geneva Convention, such as changes in the demographic structure, usurpation of land and farcical “elections”, were null and void. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz, in his message on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day, said Pakistan would continue to stand with their Kashmiri brethren struggling against the Indian atrocities, military attacks, oppression and cruelty in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, in his message, urged the United Nations to honour its pledge to hold a free and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir. Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Chairman Shehryar Khan Afridi called upon the world community, US President Joe Biden and the United Nations Secretary General to put pressure on India’s Hindutva regime for releasing Kashmiri leaders detained post abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A on August 5, 2019.

Chief ministers of Punjab and Gilgit Baltistan Sardar Usman Buzdar and Barrister Khalid Khurshid, in a meeting, condemned Indian brutalities in the IIOJK and expressed complete solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiris. Addressing a rally at Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said the Indian government, to suppress people of Kashmir, had not only amended their constitution to deny the historical rights of people of the valley, but had turned the valley into a no-go-area where no person was allowed to enter for witnessing the plight of the people.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan told a rally in Peshawar that independence was a fundamental right of the Kashmiris and the Pakistan nation stood side by side with them in their just struggle for independence from the Indian yoke. Addressing a ceremony at the Balochistan Assembly to mark the Kashmir Day, Chief Minister Jam Kamal said silence kept by the major powers on Indian atrocities and blatant human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir was a tragedy of history.

Like rest of the country, rallies, meetings and processions were also held in Gilgit-Baltistan. The main rally was taken out from Shahi Polo Ground Gilgit, which culminated near Itehad Chowk Gilgit. On the occasion, GB’s Senior Minister Col (R) Obaidullah Baig urged the United Nations and the international community to play a positive and decisive role in stopping Indian atrocities against the oppressed people of Kashmir.

Kashmir dispute resolution key to peace in South Asia: President

ISLAMABAD, Feb 5, 2021(APP,LPP): President Dr Arif Alvi has said that the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the wishes of Kashmiri people was key to durable peace in South Asia. The president, in his message to the nation on Kashmir Solidarity Day annually observed on February 5, said on the Day, the people of Pakistan paid rich tribute to the Kashmiris on their resilience in their just struggle for the right to self-determination.

He said more than a year-and-a-half had passed since August 5, 2019 when India took unilateral and illegal actions aimed at altering the internationally recognized disputed status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and changing the demographic structure of the occupied territory. Calling self-determination one of the fundamental rights codified in all major human rights instruments as well as the United Nations Charter, the president said the denial of that right and subjugation of Kashmiris in the occupied valley was the very negation of human dignity.

He said the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was one of the oldest items on the agenda of the UN Security Council. The dispute remained unresolved due to India’s obstinate refusal to honour its commitments and its disrespect for the fundamental human rights and international law. “Indian occupation forces continue oppression and brutalization of innocent Kashmiris through and inhuman military siege, communications blockade, cordon-and-search-operations, fake ‘encounters’, extra-judicial killings of Kashmiri youth, use of pellet guns, and collective punishment of entire communities and neighbourhoods,” he added.

President Alvi said the draconian laws in place in the IIOJK provided complete impunity to the occupation forces as they committed egregious violations of human rights. He said the demographic apartheid in the IIOJK by Indian occupation forces was further violation of international law wherein the Kashmiris’ majority was being turned into a minority in its own land. “These measures are a constant reminder to the world community of India’s state-terrorism – being perpetrated day in and day out against innocent Kashmiri men, women and children,” the president remarked.

He said on the Day, Pakistan called upon the international community to hold India accountable for all its misdeeds and crimes against humanity. He asked India to rescind its unilateral and illegal actions, and stop implementing the RSS-inspired ‘Hindutva’ agenda in the IIOK that was detrimental to peace and security in the region. The president reiterated its full support and solidarity with its Kashmiri brothers and sisters, resolving to continue to extend all-out support to the Kashmiris till the realization of their unalienable rights to self-determination.

President for enhanced Pak-Cuba ties in trade, culture

ISLAMABAD, Jan 8 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday said Pakistan attached utmost importance to its ties with Cuba and wanted to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas of trade, economy, health and culture. The President stated this while talking to the outgoing Cuban Ambassador Gabriel Tiel Capote, here at Aiwan-e-Sadr. President Alvi said both countries needed to identify and explore areas of trade and investment cooperation.

He also stressed the need for cultural and parliamentary exchanges between the two countries. Dr Alvi said Pakistan deeply appreciated the Cuban assistance in the wake of 2005 earthquake by sending medical teams and providing scholarships to Pakistani medical students. The President congratulated the envoy on successful completion of his tenure in Pakistan and expressed best wishes for his future endeavours.

Payments Process to Heirs of Deceased EECP Beneficiaries to Continue till Feb 28

ISLAMABAD, Jan 7, 2021 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar Thursday said the payment process to the heirs of the deceased under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program (EECP) will continue till February 28, 2021. She disclosed in a tweet that the process of the payment to the next kin of dead beneficiaries was started in the month of December 2020 in phases and will be completed till end of February along with verification as per established rules.

According to the recent status of payment to the next kin of dead beneficiaries (till January 07), a total of 169,107 applications were received out of which 65,954 applications have been processed, 5,024 rejected on the basis of ineligibility and 103,153 applications were under process of scrutinizing in the field offices. A total of 24,829 beneficiaries have received their payments, process of opening bank accounts and payments to the other 23,464 beneficiaries was underway while bank accounts of 12,637 beneficiaries were being opened and analyzed.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program has so far benefited around 15 million families, whose livelihoods were affected during the Coronavirus lockdown, by providing them financial assistance of Rs. 12,000 while the next kin of dead beneficiaries were still receiving the payments.

Pakistan Minister Requests Hazara Protesters to Bury Slain Coal Miners

QUETTA, Jan 5, 2021: Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed has requested the Hazara community to bury the coal miners who were executed in Balochistan’s Machh area late Saturday. “On behalf of the prime minister, I am requesting you, and I expect you not to reject it, bury your martyrs,” the minister said. He was speaking to the victims’ families in Quetta Monday night.

Eleven coal miners belonging to the Hazara ethnic minority were killed in Machh Saturday night. The Islamic State’s Wilayah Pakistan arm claimed responsibility for the attack.The relatives of the victims have been staging a sit-in on Quetta’s Western Bypass. Despite the minister’s request, the mourners have not given any call to end their sit-in. Rasheed assured them that the killers of the Hazara coal miners will be brought to justice. He also announced a compensation of Rs2.5 million for the family of each victim.

The provincial government will give each family Rs1.5 million, while Rs1 million each will be provided by the centre. The minister told the protesters that he was ready to arrange a meeting between the Hazara people and Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad in the next three to four days. He said he wanted them to discuss their issues with the premier directly.

Pakistan Urges UN Role for Immediate Release of Detained Kashmiri Leader Asiya Andrabi

ISLAMABAD, Jan 03, 2021(APP): Pakistan on Sunday approached the United Nations Secretary General in New York and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva to seek immediate release of Kashmiri political leader Asiya Andrabi. Asiya Andrabi, also a human rights activist,was incarcerated in infamous Tihar Jail in India whose life was in danger owing to imminent risk of persecutory conviction by a sham court on 18 January 2020, according to a Foreign Office statement.

Pakistan told the UN bodies that as a champion of human rights and an ardent advocate of women empowerment, Andrabi had worked tirelessly for social reforms and realization of fundamental freedoms for the people of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) for over four decades. She founded an organisation called Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM), which was one of the biggest women rights organizations in IIOJK working on women’s education, empowerment, well-being and protection – especially against physical violence and abuse at the hands of Indian occupation forces.

Asiya Andrabi has been under illegal and inhuman incarceration for more than 15 years on fabricated charges under draconian laws aimed at further perpetuating India’s illegal occupation of IIOJK through brutalization of the Kashmiri people. “The Indian authorities have now put Ms. Andrabi on trial on trumped up charges; deliberately accelerated the trial; and set aside due process, reflecting malicious intent with clear indications of looming judicial murder,” the Foreign Office statement said.

The spokesperson said that India’s blatant attempts to portray the legitimate Kashmiri struggle as “terrorism”, and to prosecute its leaders through concocted cases, was a clear violation of the UN Charter, UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions, and international human rights and humanitarian law. Pakistan called upon the UN to urge India to drop all fabricated charges against Asiya Andrabi, her husband and her associates and provide them complete legal protections including the right to a free and fair trial.

Pakistan also sought release all detainees, especially political prisoners and human rights defenders in IIOJK; repeal draconian laws such as AFSPA, PSA, and UAPA. India has also been asked to allow UN-supervised investigations into cases of extra-judicial executions and other serious and systematic human rights violations; and fully implement all recommendations of the two Kashmir reports of OHCHR, including the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry.

No Threat from Opposition: PM Imran Khan

PESHAWAR, Dec 17, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said the PTI-led government was also mulling over to approach the Supreme Court for conducting the Senate elections early and through show of hands. “Consultations are underway over the legal aspects as the government believes in transparent and fair conduct of the elections,” he said while talking to reporters at the Governor’s House. The prime minister said horse-trading in the Senate elections remained very easy for the governments in past but he had expelled 20 provincial assembly members from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over their alleged involvement in the practice. 

Referring to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Imran Khan said that there was no threat to the PTI government from the opposition’s gatherings. The opposition had sought a 34-page NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), which would not be granted to them, he reiterated. The cases against the opposition leaders, he said, were not filed by the PTI government rather by the past regimes. PM Imran Khan said elections for the Upper House would be held earlier than planned and that he had been given a detailed briefing on the matter by Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan. He also took aim at the Opposition parties, which have been holding rallies across the country under their coalition titled Pakistan Democratic Movement.

The premier also said that everyone was aware of what he was doing the day the PDM held their much-anticipated rally in Lahore. “There is no pressure on me,” he reiterated. “The Opposition has been holding large rallies,” he said, referring to the PDM’ protest rallies in Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, Gujranwala, and Multan. “If I want, I can still hold a rally bigger than Opposition’s,” the PM added. Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said universal health coverage, under Sehat Insaf Cards in Khyber Pakthunkhwa, would eventually revolutionalize the healthcare system and termed it a major step towards welfare state under sublime principles of Riyasat-e-Madinah.

Addressing opening ceremony of262-bed state-of-the-art Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC), he said Sehat Insaf Card was a landmark initiative of the PTI Government that could greatly facilitate thousands of poor and weak segments of the society who could not afford spending additional money for their treatment. The Prime Minister pointed out that in Riyasat-e-Madinah, the state had the sole responsibility to look after weak and marginalised segments of the society which brought positive changes in mindset of the people. He said health reforms, introduced by the PTI Government, were focused to further improve quality of the healthcare system by introducing reward and punishment system at government hospitals on the pattern of private hospitals.

“We want to bring government sector hospitals at par with private hospitals in terms of quality treatment by improving its infrastructure and management system through reforms,” he added. The Prime Minister said opening of PIC was a significant project, accomplished by PTI government that would facilitate thousands of heart patients in KP as well as from Afghanistan. He said the decision to provide health insurance to all citizens would immensely help encourage private sector to construct new hospitals in remote and far-flung areas, knowing that people would come for treatment under Sehat Insaf Cards.

Referring to misconceptions of health workers at PIMS Hospital Islamabad, he said health reforms were not meant for privatization of the government hospitals in any manner but were solely aimed at improving their performance. He said the objective of health reforms was to operate government hospitals in line with reputable private hospitals which had reward and punishment adding no institution would succeed unless it opted for this system.  The Prime Minister said the health reforms were meant to improve management system of the government hospitals through constitution of boards of directors on the pattern of private hospitals. The Prime Minister said the highest standard had been set by Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital for public and private hospitals in terms of quality treatment, maintenance and healthcare service delivery and that patients’ should be given utmost respect.

Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said youth of Pakistan has enormous potential to excel in all fields of life and his government was encouraging Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through Kamayab Jawan Program for sustainable economic growth in the country. Addressing the cheque distribution ceremony among successful youth of Khyber Pakthunkhwa under the PTI Govt.’s flagship Kamayab Jawan Program (KJP) here, the Prime Minister said the government has launched an ambitionious Kamayab Jawan Programme for financial support of unemployed youth and skilled labourers to bring them into mainstream.

The Prime Minister said any business idea needs financial support and technical assistance for its implementation, adding Kamyab Jawan Program has provided an inclusive platform to youth to give practical shape to their business ideas. He said affordable housing projects were being started across the country including Khyber Pakthunkhwa under Prime Minister Naya Housing Programme under which low interest loans would be given to poor people to become owner of their own houses. Prime Minister Imran Khan said KP has a great potential in tourism and massive revenue could be generated by investing in this sector for benefits of masses. He said KP’s hilly areas including Malakand and Hazara divisions were most suited for adventure sports and mountains tourism and substantial revenue could be generated by investing in tourism sector.

The Prime Minister said skiing was an important winter sports through which huge revenue could be generated, adding Pakistan’s upper areas including Malam Jabba and Kalam in Swat are most favourable for skinning sports. He gave example of Switzerland which earned millions of dollars every year only through skiing sports and resorts. He said that Gilgit Baltistan and KP mountains have great potential for skiing sports and become a key source of attracting foreign exchange to the national kitty. Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday inaugurated Rs 994million Hayatabad Sports Complex expansion project to develop it as per the international standard and standards of International Cricket Council.

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan, Provincial Health Minister, Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr. Kazim Niaz, Secretary Sports Abid Majeed, Additional Secretary Sports Junaid Khan, DG Sports Asfandyar Khan Khattak and other senior officials, accompanied the premier. Provincial Secretary Sports Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Abid Majeed while briefing about the project said the international standard Cricket Stadium of Hayatabad Sports Complex would be completed by June 2021 that would offer all the facilities including main pavilion, general stands and digital score board as per International Cricket Council standards.