PM appreciates Putin, discusses bilateral cooperation

PM directs completion of public welfare projects on priority basis

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Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday appreciated President Vladimir Putin for his statement that disrespecting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) did not count as an expression of artistic freedom but a “violation of religious freedom.”

The prime minister held a telephonic conversation with President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

The prime minister said that he had been regularly highlighted the appalling rise in Islamophobia and associated hatred in his addresses to the UN General Assembly, pointing towards its serious ramifications.

Both leaders agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in different areas, increase high-level exchanges, and remain in close contact on matters relating to Afghanistan.

Prime minister Khan underscored that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was pivotal for regional stability. Afghanistan was facing dire humanitarian and economic challenges and support of the international community to the people of Afghanistan at this critical juncture remained vitally important, he stressed.

He also underscored the importance of release of Afghanistan’s financial assets for addressing the dire needs of the Afghan people.

“The two leaders fondly recalled their conversations during last year and exchanged views on bilateral cooperation as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest,” a press release said.

The prime minister underscored that Pakistan’s bilateral relationship with Russia was on an upward trajectory, with an increased focus on trade and economic ties and energy cooperation.

He reiterated the government’s resolve for early realization of the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project.

The prime minister said that he looked forward to President Putin’s visit to Pakistan as well as his own visit to Russia at an appropriate time.

Separately, the prime minister, in a series of tweets, said that he lauded the Russian President for his emphatic statement regarding freedom of speech which could not be used as pretext to disrespect the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday directed for completion of development projects in their stipulated period and other public welfare plans on priority basis.

The prime minister held a meeting with Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan after his arrival here.

During the meeting, they discussed the political situation, administrative affairs and law and order in the province.

Issues related to uplift projects including implementation of agriculture transformation plan, protection of forests and health cards.

Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said that the investment in technology sector was vital to create employment for the youth as well as improve the national economy.

“The future is technology. The Special Technology Zone is a complete ecosystem. The provincial government generated resources for the project which will have a positive impact on next generations,” the prime minister said addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of Pakistan Digital City Special Technology Zone here.

The flagship project of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would be established on 86 kanals of land and would cost Rs 1.31 billion.

A large number of IT and allied technologies including electronics, computers and mobile phones, software houses and technology incubators would largely benefit from the project that would would boost the allied industries and generate hundreds of thousands of jobs for the youths.

The prime minster, who earlier kicked off work on the project, lauded Dr Attaur Rehman and former KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak for taking the initiatives which he said would have far reaching impact on the provincial development.

He said after coming into power in 2013, it was the KP government that had introduced health insurance facility for the low-income people of the province despite financial constraints.

Moreover, it was also the PTI government that raised the issues of climate change, forestation, institution building and tourism.

The prime minister also appreciated Dr Attaur Rehman for his support to establish Pak-Austria Fachhochschule Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in Haripur which would have positive impact on next generations.

He said in the past, England had established two top class universities which provided leadership to the world for long.

The prime minister said the previous governments never focused on education sector and instead brought about three-tier education system which promoted three cultures and left negative impact on the society.

He said for the first time, the incumbent government introduced core curriculum for up to class 5 which would be expanded to upper level to make the country a nation.

Calling for exploitation of the potential of young population, the prime minister reiterated that investment in technology sector would benefit the country.

He said in the past, the highly educated youths remained unemployed as the institutions had no connection with the market; however the projects like the STZs would open up new avenues for employment.

He told the gathering that the government removed impediments in the technology sector which took the growth to 45% and was expected to touch 75% mark this year.

He said the promotion of technology never had been a priority of the previous governments and appreciated the far-sightedness of Dr Attaur Rehman for establishing a quality institute with the Austrian support. He hoped that the STZ and the university would feed each other.

The prime minister said while protecting their privileges they had corrupted state institutions, especially those that were responsible for upholding the rule of law.

“Such individuals, cartels and mafias are parasites that are not loyal to our country and defeating them is absolutely necessary in order to unleash the real potential of Pakistan,” he emphasized.

According to prime minister’s views expressed in his piece of writing the core of every civilization was its spiritual principles; when they died, the civilization died.

“In Islamic civilization, the manifestation of our spiritual principles happened in the Prophet’s (SAW) Madina. Besides many other important principles, there were five very important guiding principles upon which the state of Madina was built. These principles are unity, justice and rule of law leading to meritocracy, strong moral and ethical foundation, inclusion of all humans in progress and prosperity, and finally, the quest for knowledge,” he added.

The prime minister said to help revive the spirit of the covenant of Madina, National Rahmatul Lil ‘Alamin Authority (NRA) has been formed.

The first principle which laid the foundation for Riyasat-i-Madina was of unity.

“Remember that our Prophet (SAW), who was mercy for all mankind, unified people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds into a single community. Besides Muslims, there were Christians, Jews, Sabeans and other groups who were all woven into a unitary communal whole under the state of Madina,” he added.

He said the second founding principle was rule of Law which resulted in justice and meritocracy.

The Prophet (SAW) made it clear that no one was above the law. The Prophet (PBUH) said that nations perished when two sets of laws existed, one for the rich and another for the poor, the prime minister added.

If one looked at the world today, the prime minister said one could easily witness that most successful states also had the most robust application of the rule of law.

“Besides several Western nations, one witnesses that those East Asian economies that have recently prospered, strictly practised this principle. Japan, China and South Korea are good examples,” he said.

Whereas those nations where rule of law was subverted, the prime minister said, seemed to be sinking into poverty and chaos.

“In many countries of the Muslim world, despite the prevalence of tremendous resources, there is less progress, which is attributable to lack of rule of law,” he opined. The prime minister further said that another good example was South Asia.

In today’s India, the apartheid rule of law has immediately brought about poverty and countless insurgencies that threaten the union of their country, he added.

The prime minister reiterated, “In Pakistan, not adhering to the rule of law has led to siphoning off of billions of US dollars which has imposed collective poverty on our public. The pattern of politics and development in many countries of Africa and Latin American suggest the same. The so-called banana republics are the way they are because of lack of rule of law. This cause and effect relationship between rule of law and socio-political harmony cannot be emphasized enough”.

He said the third founding principle of Riyasat-i-Madina was of an ethical and moral transformation of the people – the concept of Amr-bil-maroof-wa-nahi-anil-munkar (doing good, forbidding evil).

Nobody would dispute this principle, he said, but there were elements in the society that were of the opinion that ethical development of people should be left to the people, the state should remain neutral about good and evil as conceived by religion.

This approach is quite outmoded and problematic because it handcuffs the state from performing its ethical and moral duties and allowed adversaries of the country to come in with handfuls of money and subverted the values using the educational systems and channels of information, he observed.

The prime minister said the fourth founding principle was of inclusive development through creation of a welfare state where society took care of its poor and vulnerable and everyone was a stakeholder in the development of society and state.

State of medina was the first recorded welfare state of mankind where the state took responsibility of its weak, he added.

“Since we must emulate the example of our blessed Prophet (SAW), our citizens should learn to be strict with themselves and generous with others,” he added.

The prime minister further said a knowledge-based society that did not confound literacy with knowledge.

“Literacy may lead to illuminative knowledge that may guide us to good behavior, but some of the highest crime zones of the world also have very high literacy rates. One must not lose sight of an important historical fact that nearly all scholars of early and medieval Islam had deep roots in spirituality,” he added.

Knowledge with spiritual transformation from cradle to grave was important, he said, adding  all sources that impacted human behavior should disseminate knowledge which produces self-control, self-discipline, patience, forbearance, tolerance and a spirit of service and volunteerism.

The prime minister also enumerated the initiative launched by his government to embark on the road to the welfare state.

“Despite tight financial means, we allocated unprecedented amount of money to our initiatives such as the Ehsaas Program which was launched back in 2019. Ehsaas Program is a social safety and poverty alleviation program necessary for the vulnerable groups in society.

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