ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said Pakistan had made a tremendous progress during the last four years as its economic progress and success against terrorism were being acknowledged by international community.
Addressing a function held in connection with Allama Muhammad Iqbal Day at Pakistan-China Cultural Centre here, he said, “Now the time has come that we start taking pride in a rising Pakistan.”
The minister said Pakistan’s remarkable economic turnaround and its historic success against menace of terrorism in the past few years was luring international businessmen which now see the country as an investment hub with rising opportunities.
He said four years ago, terrorists were holding the country hostage, but today, by Grace of Almighty Allah, terrorists were now on the run and peace had prevailed in Pakistan.
He said the number of terrorist incidents had fallen in past four years, adding, “We have achieved a success with our own resources, and we have achieved this feat which has no parallel in the world.”
Ahsan Iqbal expressed the strong resolve of the government to purge the society of every sign that promotes any kind of hatred and violence.
He said four years ago, international media had a negative view of the country and now the same media was praising Pakistan as the fastest growing economy in the world.
Comparing the economic situation today to that of four years ago, he said, “I am happy to say that last year, we achieved 4.8 percent growth and we are expecting 5.5 per cent growth in the current financial year. Next year, Insha Allah, we will touch the 6 per cent growth mark.”
He recalled that when the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz government took over after winning a landslide victory in 2013 election, the country was facing its worst energy crisis and people were forced to live without electricity for 20 hours a day. Today, the power outages had reduced to 4 hours a day.
“Such kind of efforts that the present government is putting in for the progress of the country,” he added.
He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game-changer and Pakistan would be a regional hub of trade.
Referring to a huge investment under the CPEC, he said as much as $35 billion was being spent alone on improving country’s energy sector.
“As a result of the huge economic turnaround; tremendous improvement in the security and the CPEC have changed Pakistan’s profile and international investors have now started to come to Pakistan in a big way,” the minister said and added, “All investors are coming to Pakistan as they now see opportunities.”
He said continuity of system and smooth transition of power were essential for strengthening democracy and achieving development in the country. Pakistan was heading towards smooth transition and become a mature democratic country.
Ahsan Iqbal said it was for first time in history of the country that previous democratic government completed its constitutional tenure which had sent a positive message to the world that Pakistan had become a democratic state.
Similarly, he said, in 2018 general election, the government wanted the process should be completed in a democratic manner so as to prove the world about our strong democratic system.
He said the present government had completed more than four years and emphasized the need to further strengthen democratic culture and it could be proved that second time a democratic government had completed its five-year term.
He said good economic policies were like seeds and in case there was political instability, progress could not be achieved.
The minister lamented that a particular segment of opposition parties was in habit of finding faults in development which had been achieved during last four years and spreading disappointment in the country.
He said the general election 2018 would actually be referendum of development and those working for progress would emerge as victorious.
He said the incumbent government had initiated lot of mega projects from Gilgit-Baltistan to Karachi to lead the country towards progress and development.
He said the CPEC was a mega development project which was launched by Nawaz Sharif with investment of China to ensure development in Pakistan.
While the opposition, he said was criticizing building of road network without knowing importance of roads in development.
The masses could get education and health facilities through roads, adding that if roads were not important then why China was spending billions of rupees on building roads to link South and Middle East.
He said pro active steps in information technology and higher education areas were bearing fruits and improved profile of Pakistan among comity of nations.
“This is a real change which is being exhibited through positive results. Not like “Bhera Garak and Satia Naas Brigade” which has been running a negative campaign to create confusion in the country,” he added.
He said Pakistan needed to benefit from opportunities being offered by CPEC and transform its economy to a modern industrial economy and added lack of proper leadership and power politics had hindered Pakistan’s progress and, therefore, “We must learn from our past mistakes.”
Paying tribute to Poet of the East, he said Iqbal wanted the youth to take part in prosperity of Muslim Ummah, as the youth could lead the nation to heights of success and progress.
The minister also shed light on Iqbal’s philosophy of `Khudi’ and other features of Iqbal’s poetry, life and teachings.
He said Iqbal’s concept of self (Khudi) stands on spiritual basis and the same was message of Sufis which could protect Muslims’ values.
“We should avoid self-deception and by leaving myths should play our role for betterment of the society,” he said.—APP