MULTAN/LODHRAN: The Prime minister Imran Khan said the country’s economic turnaround had brought down the curtain on “bad days” and heralded an era of economic growth, wealth creation and jobs for youth, he was addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of Lodhran-Multan road.
“I believe bad days have passed. Insha Allah (God willing), in the coming days, Pakistan’s economic growth will not be turbulent, with up and down cycles. Pakistan will start its journey from when it was the fourth largest economy in Asia in 1968 after Japan, China and India,” he said.
The 62-kilometre north-bound section of N-5 will connect the districts of Multan, Lodhran and Bahawalpur. The project will be completed in two years at a cost of about Rs6.8 billion.
Mr Khan claimed that the incumbent government had constructed three times more roads as compared to the previous government, which was known only for building roads. The prime minister said the government faced criticism from the opposition which wanted to topple the government unless their leaders were given NRO.
“My own people had to face tough time. The media also gave an impression that Naya Pakistan can emerge by switching on a button,” he said.
The prime minister said it always took time to change the status quo as the mafias resisted any such movement to protect their interests. Similarly, the opposition yearned for the government’s failure to protect their laundered money and properties abroad, he said.
Contrary to India, Mr Khan said, Pakistan was sailing through the Covid-19 situation owing to the government’s prudent policies although the two countries had identical population density and weather conditions. He said the IT sector was under the government’s focus to exploit its immense potential as India was earning around $80 billion from IT exports.
Mr Khan said the construction of 10 dams was in progress to produce clean energy and utilise the 50,000MW potential of hydropower. For the first time, tree plantation on a massive scale was being done under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami and new national parks were being developed, he added.
In his address, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Lodhran-Multan road would benefit three districts and connect two divisions of Multan and Bahawalpur.
He said the South Punjab Secretariat was an extraordinary step that would go a long way in strengthening the federation by addressing the political imbalance.
Communications Minister Murad Saeed said work on the Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway would start in three months.
He said during two and half years of PTI government, the National Highway Authority had increased its revenue by 105 per cent. He said work on the Sialkot-Kharian motorway would start within 10 days and on the Kharian-Rawalpindi section within three months.
Later the prime minister met a number of PTI legislators from national and provincial assemblies.