Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing at launching ceremony of Sehat Insaf Card for special persons. Image Credit: APP

Islamabad: Ministers and leaders lauded the one-year achievements of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government and called it a success for the foreign policy vision and a “journey of stability of Pakistan”.

During the past year, Imran further enhanced a closer relationship with Gulf states, particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and hosted top leaders from both countries.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government in a short period of one year corrected the course through strong foundations, hard work and honesty.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad she said the day is dedicated to the struggle of oppressed Kashmiri brothers and sisters for their right to self-determination.

Dr Awan said the prime minister achieved a historic electoral success after a political struggle of 22 years and reforms are being introduced in all government ministries and institutions under Imran’s vision to transform Pakistan on the principles of the State of Madinah where rule of law and social welfare are the top priority.

She said noticeable improvements have been made in postal services, the National Highway Authority, railways and many other government departments, especially the tourism sector. Some of the key achievements of the government are tax reforms and introduction of housing and health facilities for low-income people.

However, PTI government’s first year was tough for consumers due to high food prices, increase in utility bills, rise in petroleum prices, new taxes and rupee depreciation.

Foreign Policy achievements

The government has made significant achievements on the foreign policy front during the first year of the ruling PTI government, according to Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal. Pakistan’s new leadership engaged the world with confidence as the prime minister held personal meetings with several world leaders. During the one year, the country pursued the vision of a “peaceful neighbourhood” and thus improved its image, increasing investment flows and energising the diaspora.

Dr Faisal also maintained that Pakistan strengthened strategic cooperative partnerships with all-weather friends marked by closer engagement on phase-II of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and finalisation of Free Trade Agreement-II.

During the last year, the PTI government also focused on forging stronger economic partnerships with Gulf countries, especially, Saudi Arabia and UAE yielding multibillion dollar investments, budgetary support and deferred oil payments, Dr Faisal recalled.

A key development was injecting new impetus into relations with the United States and President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was seen as a major achievement for Imran.

The Strategic Engagement Plan was finalised with the European Union, besides improving the trajectory of relations with Russia, Europe and Central Asian partners.

Meanwhile, Pakistan achieved positive re-engagement with Afghanistan at a summit level and supported the peace process. It followed a constructive approach towards India with an offer of structured dialogue, stressing on a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. It also completed 80 per cent work on the Kartarpur peace corridor.

The foreign policy forcefully advocated on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute at all available forums, including the OIC, the UN, and the European and British Parliaments.

Pakistan also played a leading role in combating Islamophobia, white collar crime and climate change with effective participation at UN, OIC, SCO and other forums.

Tree initiative

The Pakistan government is undertaking a massive initiative to plant 10 billion trees in the next four years to foster environmental awareness and mitigate the effects of climate change. Environmental protection is at the heart of the PTI government policy under the leadership of Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam. Besides plantation, the government has also banned the use of plastic bags, and is aiming to introduce electric vehicles and regulations for green buildings under the “Clean and Green Pakistan” programme.

Tax reforms

Under the PTI-led government, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) undertook several reforms during the last few months to increase revenue and broaden the tax base.

Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme

PTI government has also initiated the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme to provide five million affordable shelters to low income and salaried people. Several housing projects in cities including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi and Gawadar, were launched under the project.

Sehat Sahulat Card and Ehsas Programme

Awan highlighted the Ehsas welfare programme as one of the achievements of the PTI government: “Ehsas programme is close to the premier’s heart. He believes that a society cannot change until people understand each other’s situations.” Ehsas is an ambitious social safety and poverty alleviation programme for the welfare of the public that was launched by Imran in March this year.

Imran Khan recently launched the Sehat Sahulat Programme as a major step towards poverty alleviation under which expensive treatments for all major diseases would be covered.

Highlights of one-year performance

• Pakistan Postal Service and National Highway Authority improved greatly

• Housing and health projects (Ehsas welfare programme and Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme) launched for public welfare

• Pakistan enhanced a closer relationship with Gulf States particularly UAE and Saudi Arabia. Improved relations with United States

• Visa on arrival facility introduced and new tourism policy developed

• 10 billion trees to be planted in 5 years

• Tax reforms introduced to broaden tax net and generate revenue

• Interior ministry improved border security