Pakistan willing to improve ties with neighbouring countries: Imran Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday laid the roadmap for his country’s development and governance while spelling out his priorities in foreign policy in his maiden speech after being sworn-in as the 22nd prime minister of the country.

Imran Khan in his address underscored that Islamabad wishes to improve its relations with the neighbouring countries, while adding that through the National Action Plan (NAP), his government would leave no stone unturned in combating terrorism.

“The National Action Plan was finalised on consensus from all the parties. We will work to implement it fully and fight this scourge of terrorism,” he added.

Laying out the roadmap for uprooting corruption, the 65-year-old cricketer-turned-politician asserted that he has vowed to clamp down on corrupt individuals to save Pakistan.

While promising that taxes would be spent on the welfare of the citizens, Khan elucidated, “I will also make the nation feel confident that I will protect your money. With our austerity measures, we will daily tell everyone how much we have saved.”

Taking a dig on the erstwhile Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) governments, Khan remarked that when the leadership were indulging in corruption, it ruined all state institutions.

Vowing to eliminate graft from Pakistan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief said, “Either this country will be saved or these corrupt people. You have to stand by me and never vote those who have stashed their assets abroad. When state money is stolen, your money is stolen. We need to protect it. Whatever we save on these state expenses, we will spend 50 per cent of that on our people.”

Commenting on the plight of education in Pakistan, Khan lamented that the government schools were in a terrible state. He added that his government would fix the education system on priority.

The Pakistan prime minister informed that about 1,50,000 children were admitted to government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after addressing the anomalies.
He continued, “We will uplift our civil services in Pakistan. There was a time when our civil services were the most efficient in South Asia. We will fix the system and protect our officials’ rights too.”

Khan also said that his government would initiate a nationwide cleanliness drive and vowed to make Pakistan open-defecation free in the next five years. Expressing concern on climate change, the 1992 World Cup winning captain underscored that a billion trees would be planted to tackle the issue.

On the sports front, Khan further said, “We will improve facilities for our youth. Sports grounds will be built. We will work to provide skill training to our youth, give interest-free loans to help young entrepreneurs.”

Khan’s PTI party had emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats in the July 25 general elections. On Friday, he was elected as the new prime minister of Pakistan by the lawmakers of the National Assembly, defeating his PML-N rival Shehbaz Sharif.

While Khan bagged 176 seats, Sharif, the PML-N president and the brother of jailed former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, managed to secure just 96 seats.

Khan took oath as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan on August 18.

This post was last modified on August 20, 2018, 4:52 am