LAHORE: In what would be seen in political circles as a message to bitter foe Imran Khan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said that his government would complete its five-year constitutional term and that general elections would be held in the country in 2018 as scheduled.
“The new elections will be held in 2018 and by that time not only our government will have completed its term but also various uplift projects in energy and infrastructure development will have become completed,” he said at a ceremony held at a school in Rahim Yar Khan to launch the PM’s Health Card scheme.
The declaration comes at a time when the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf of Imran Khan has announced plans to lock down Islamabad on Nov 2 to seek the prime minister’s resignation on corruption charges.
General election in the country will be held in 2018
Counting his government’s initiatives for restoration of law and order, provision of energy and improvement in railways and other sectors, Nawaz Sharif chided previous governments for ignoring these issues and receiving kickbacks on uplift projects.
“Why did the past rulers not work to fight against terrorism and for generation of power and left the tasks [unattended] for us?”
He said his government fought a decisive fight against terrorism which, he predicted, would soon be over.
As the prime minister referred to the miseries of the poor, tears welled up in his eyes. He lamented that the problems faced by the masses in the health and other sectors were ignored while billions of rupees were consumed on projects that had no direct benefit for the poor.
“We’d seen repeatedly in the past that projects would remain incomplete for 20 and 30 years wasting the hard-earned money of the masses and [the authorities] would receive commissions and kickbacks.”
He asked the authorities to serve the masses, saying none would remain in power forever and one would have to be held accountable for one’s deeds in the world hereafter.
He said the PML-N government was making every effort to reduce miseries of the common man by providing them facilities for a better life.
The premier said the poor had little or no access to healthcare and in case of diseases such as cancer or cardiac ailments they were unable to afford expensive treatment and the Health Card would give these patients access to public and private hospitals on panel even for the treatment of cancer, cardiac ailments, hepatitis, injuries and burns. The limit of medical cover would be up to Rs300,000 while if required by a patient more funds would be arranged from the Baitul Mal, he added.
He mentioned that 390,000 families had so far been registered with the scheme in Islamabad, Quetta, Kotli and Skardu whereas work in Lasbela and Khanewal was in progress.
The prime minister said he was committed to setting up 50 new hospitals and that a network of motorways was being expanded across the country.
He said that Rahim Yar Khan would also benefit from the Multan-Sukkur motorway – to be completed by 2019.
Irfanul Haq contributed to the report from Rahim Yar Khan