Saturday, 13 April 2024, 08:01:48 pm

Shehbaz invites opposition for 'Charter of Reconciliation'
March 03, 2024

Prime Minister-elect Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has invited the opposition for a Charter of Reconciliation to effectively address prevailing challenges and the take the country towards progress and prosperity.

In his maiden speech in the National Assembly today, he categorically stated that they have no personal egos and the other side also needs to follow the suit for the sake of Pakistan. He mentioned that they had earlier proposed Charter of Economy for the country’s benefit.

Shehbaz Sharif said people have given a split mandate in the general elections; and those having reservations about election results need to approach the appropriate forums. 

He emphasized the destiny of the country can be changed and it can be taken to the path of self-reliance through collective decisions.

Highlighting his government’s priorities, the Prime Minister-elect announced plans and reforms to address challenges in different sectors.

Referring to the economic challenges, the Prime Minister pointed out that the country is indebted to 80,000 billion rupees of internal and external loans, and this situation warrants deep surgery.

The Prime Minister-elect said a revenue of twelve thousand and three hundred billion rupees is expected during the current fiscal year. He said after distribution of resources to the provinces under the National Finance Commission Award, the federal government will be left with seven thousand three hundred billion rupees. He said eight thousand billion rupees are required for payment of interest. Shehbaz Sharif directed the Federal Board of Revenue to ensure pending tax refunds in the next ten days. He said his government will put in the best possible efforts to enhance revenue that would lead to reduction in inflation and create employment opportunities.

Shehbaz Sharif said the outdated laws will be done away with to create conducive environment for business and investment in the country. He said visa free entry will be given to the entrepreneurs from friendly countries. He directed the banks to also give loans to the youth for promotion of small and medium enterprises. He said a network of export zones will be spread across the country with the cooperation of provincial governments by ensuring one window facility.

The Prime Minister said trade corridors will be opened. He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be taken forward with the cooperation of China, which is a time-tested and reliable friend of Pakistan. 

Expressing concern over the high electricity tariff, Shehbaz Sharif said the circular debt in power sector has climbed to two thousand and three hundred billion rupees. He said action will be taken against power pilferage.

The Prime Minister-elect said he himself will monitor the action against power theft and tax evasion. He directed the energy companies to lay down a network of renewable energy projects to provide affordable electricity to consumers.

Unveiling his government’s priorities in agriculture sector, the Prime Minister-elect expressed commitment to provide direct subsidy to farmers on fertilizers. He said the government will launch a Solar Tube-well programme and try to provide high quality imported seeds to farmers free of cost for first time. He said livestock farming will be promoted under Special Investment Facilitation Council.

Shehbaz Sharif said establishing a network of efficient public transport system in collaboration with the provincial governments will be another priority of his government. He said state of the art new hospitals will be established at the federal level and in the provinces to provide better health facilities to people.

Underlining the need for human development for overall progress of the country, the Prime Minister-elect said the youth will be offered multiple opportunities to excel. He said as many as five hundred thousand youth will be imparted with special training in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and other information technology-related fields. He said the federal government will provide the students securing distinctive positions with scholarships to study abroad. Shehbaz Sharif held out assurance to protect rights of minorities as enshrined in the Constitution. He said women constitute fifty percent of the population, and they deserve equal opportunities and rights. He said harassment of women at workplaces is not acceptable.

The Prime Minister-elect expressed his firm resolve to wipe out terrorism from the country through full implementation of the National Action Plan.

He said the issue of missing persons of Balochistan will be resolved with the consultation of the notables of the province. He said the elements involved in May 9 incidents will have to face the law. However, those who have not committed any crime will not have to face any embarrassment.

Explaining his government’s foreign policy outlook, the Prime Minister-elect said adding friends and reducing opponents will be cornerstone of the foreign policy. Describing Pakistan’s relations with the United States as long-standing, he said the government will make efforts to repair and rebuild relations with Washington. He said relations with the neighboring countries will be taken forward on the basis of principles of equality.

The Prime Minister was appreciative of the financial support extended by Saudi Arabia during his last tenure in government. He acknowledged that Saudi Arabia has always stood by Pakistan in difficult times. Likewise, the United Arab Emirates and Turkiye have also been supportive of Pakistan in challenging times.

Condemning the Israeli aggression against the innocent Palestinians and Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir, the Prime Minister-elect urged the international community to break its silence over the barbarism against the humanity.