ISLAMABAD, April 17 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday broke ground for construction of 25,000 housing units for the federal government employees in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, under the present government’s “ambitious” five million housing programme.
“Construction of five million houses is an ambitious target, but foreign investors are queued up (for this project). We are trying to bring private sector in the project so that youth could get opportunities for establishing their own businesses,” he said while addressing the foundation laying ceremony of high rise residential complex of 6,000 apartments here at the Sector G-13.
The prime minister said he would soon inaugurate the construction of 100,000 housing units in Balochistan and 6,000 in Azad Kashmir besides 14,000 in Lahore and Karachi in cooperation with the private sector.
He said initially his focus was on improving education, health and employment in the country. But, he added, he thought about the housing facility for low income and salaried people some two years back, after a government employee committed suicide in Islamabad just to seek job for his son and to retain the government’s house in which he lived.
The prime minister said that the government was also working to convert the slums in Karachi and Islamabad into high rise apartments and providing all basic amenities there including commercial areas.
He said a Chinese company, which had the expertise in prefabricated housing, during a meeting with him showed interest in establishing a unit for manufacturing prefabricated housing material. That company had the capability of constructing a building floor in a week, he added.
He said the government had also allocated Rs 5 billion for a revolving fund to lend interest-free credit to the poor and homeless for the construction of their own houses.
The prime minister said that laying the foundation of 25,000 housing units in Islamabad after only eight months efforts was a starter of five million housing programme, which would push the construction of housing units across the country.
Imran Khan said with different systems running for the poor and rich in the country, the present government wanted to bring uniformity and a change so that the lot of common man could be improved.
He regretted that a small segment of society was creating hurdles in the way of change for their vested interest.
The prime minister said that those who were beneficiary of this corrupt system and had laundered billions of rupees abroad were making hue and cry about the government’s failure since the very first day of his government.
“The interests of country and of those who have their assets abroad are always different,” he remarked.
He said those people who took the country’s debt from Rs 6 trillion to Rs 30 trillion in 10 years were raising questions about the performance of present government, which came to power only eight months back.
The prime minister described the small segment of people as the forces of status quo and said those people were benefiting from the corrupt system. “No one can defeat us in this war. We have to lift the poor people”, he maintained.
He vowed to defeat the forces of status quo and turn Pakistan into a great country and nation by following the principles of the State of Madina and Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
The prime minister advised the nation to be patient and said that ups and downs were always part of a struggle, adding, “No one should be worried about hard times. I have also seen ups and downs in my life. But now Allah Almighty has given me an opportunity to do something,” he added.
Sharing his vision of a state after 23 years of political struggle, the prime minister said he was never confused and had a clear vision about the state of Pakistan in line with the vision of founding fathers including Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.
“As a welfare state is responsible to look after the downtrodden, we have to ensure the uplift of downtrodden in Pakistan. I am very clear on it. If it was an easy task, it would have been done by other politicians during the last 70 years,” he remarked.
The prime minister said it was Holy Prophet (PBUH) who created the first-ever welfare state in Madina, which led to the creation of a great Muslim Empire over the next 700 years.
He said the previous governments made the country bankrupt, adding Rs 6.5 billion was being paid per day as interest on the loans taken by them during the last ten years.
The prime minister referred to his struggle in establishing Shaukat Khanam Cancer Hospital and said it were not people who could do anything but Allah Almighty Who gave power to achieve goals. “We can do anything through faith in Allah Almighty and His blessings,” he remarked.
Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Minister for Housing Tariq Basheer Cheema, Secretary Housing and Director General Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) also spoke on the occasion and highlighted various features of Naya Pakistan Housing Program.