No one to be allowed to destabilise country: Ahsan Iqbal

No one to be allowed to destabilise country: Ahsan Iqbal
APP09-230522 LAHORE: May 23 - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal addressing at the ceremony of groundbreaking ceremony of HEC Seerat Centre for Gender Studies & Rights for Women at Johar Town. APP photo by Amir Khan

LAHORE, May 23 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal Monday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was trying to create unrest and polarisation through hybrid warfare tools, but the coalition government would not allow anyone to destabilise the country.

Talking to the media here, he said the coalition government, led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) believed in democracy and provision of fundamental rights to people. Therefore, it would not hinder peaceful demonstrations, but if anyone would try to create anarchy and take the law into one’s hands, strict action would be taken against him.

The minister said that the PTI social media teams were propagating about the caretaker setup to create a confusion among masses; however, the government would decide after taking all stakeholders on board about the election date.

To another query, he said that the PTI government policies caused severe damage to the economy during the last four years, due to which inflation increased and the development sectors faced downward trends. That economic mess needed time to be fixed, the minister said adding that the PTI government would have to be answerable about their economic policies.

Ahsan Iqbal said the PML-N government, during its tenure, planned setting up nine special economic zones (SEZs) till 2020, but the PTI government neglected the sector and did not establish even a single economic zone till 2022.

He said that the PTI government also ignored Gwadar port development including port dragging process, which was part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (EPEC) as they did not clear the financial bills and also not provided other resources needed to develop the port.

Earlier, addressing the ground-breaking ceremony of the Higher Education Commission-Seerat Centre for Gender Studies & Rights of Women at Johar Town, Ahsan Iqbal said that the project would focus on how to counter the challenge of hate speech and Islamophobia through development of research-based culture in the study of Islam.

He criticised the previous government’s performance on the development front, saying its “failures and inability to decrease the deficit” had led to a reduction in the uplift budget’s size.

The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) was initially allocated Rs 900 billion for current fiscal year 2021-22, which had now been reduced to Rs 480 billion, he said and added the National Highways Authority was given Rs 319 billion in the fiscal year 2019 budget and they now required Rs 460 billion, but their budget had been reduced to Rs 91 billion by the PTI government.

He said that the government would have to restore targets from the previous fiscal year for reducing deficit in the new budget.

He added that the government would also face other constraints, including conditions set by the IMF but it would try to increase the development budget as much as it could while maintaining financial discipline.

HEC Executive Director Dr Shaista Shohail, vice chancellors of public and private universities, educationists and others were also present.