Monday Apr 11, 2022
ISLAMABAD: In his first speech in the National Assembly as the prime minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif Monday raised the minimum wage of government employees to Rs25,000 which is applicable from April 1.
He further appeal to industrialists to increase salaries of employees who earn up to Rs100,000 by 10%. Shehbaz also announced a 10% increase in civil and military pensions of retired employees.
Following the ouster of PTI chairman Imran Khan from the office of the prime minister, the Opposition's joint candidate Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the 23rd premier of Pakistan today.
Shehbaz secured 174 votes as opposed to PTI's candidate Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who received no votes after his party decided to boycott the polling process.
The premier mentioned that it was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a prime minister was ousted through the no-confidence motion.
Among other relief measures, PM Shehbaz said that cheap wheat will be introduced at utility stores, laptops will be provided to the youth, and Benazir Card will be introduced.
Regarding the economy of Pakistan, Shahbaz said if Pakistan were to progress, then it needs to be self-sufficient on the financial front.
"...we will need to protect and respect the nation as neither was anyone a traitor nor are they traitors now," the prime minister said, noting if Pakistan's economy were to move forward, then, the government will have to use "dialogue" and not move towards a deadlock.
PM Shehbaz Sharif said hard work was required for Pakistan's progress as if only statements could move the country forward, then during PTI's tenure, “we would have been among the leading nations.”
"We will need to wash out the effects of the previous government by working together, otherwise, we will fail [...] our economy is in a bad situation right now," the prime minister said.
Shehbaz said the new government would take steps to make Pakistan an "investment heaven" for investors as he noted their capital would help the country move forward.
He announced that despite Punjab "being the elder brother" if all the other provinces remain behind in terms of development, then it is not Pakistan's development, it was just a single province's development.
"...this servant of Pakistan vows to make sure that Pakistan will develop and not just Punjab," Shehbaz said.
He said the government would reintroduce the Benazir Card and interlink it with the education sector in a bid to facilitate people whose children go to school.
"Our children should be equipped with great knowledge [...] we will reintroduce this programme with consultation," he said and lashed out at the PTI government for discontinuing it.
In-camera briefing on 'threat letter'
The newly-elected prime minister said the Opposition was discussing the no-confidence motion days before Imran Khan's "concocted threat letter controversy".
"They say that this letter came to them on March 7, but our decisions were made way before that, so, if [what the previous government claimed] is a lie, then the matter should be disclosed transparently before the public," he said.
Therefore, PM Shehbaz Sharif announced that the parliament's security committee would be given a briefing on the "threat letter" to the members of the committee in presence of the armed forces personnel and bureaucrats — the director-general Inter-Services Intelligence, foreign secretary, and the ambassador who wrote it, who has now been transferred to Brussels.
"If there's an iota of evidence that we were backed by foreign conspirators [...] then with you Mr speaker and God as my witness, I will not think for another second and resign from the office of the prime minister," PM Shehbaz Sharif said, vowing to hold an in-camera session of the security committee at the earliest.
The prime minister thanked his brother and ex-premier Nawaz Sharif for his support, while also lauding social media activists, press clubs, media houses, and lawyers for backing the Opposition's struggle for democracy.
Speaking about foreign policy, Shehbaz said China has been Pakistan’s partner through thick and thin. “No one can snatch Pakistan and China's friendship from us,” he said, calling it a “long-lasting relation.”
He also reiterated that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be carried forward and the projects will move forward at a faster pace.
On relations with the United Kingdom, Shehbaz said that bilateral relations need to move forward as millions of Pakistanis live there, adding that the UK provided funding for education in all four provinces. Meanwhile, Shehbaz also maintained that relations with the US must also be established on equal grounds.
Read more: Shah Farman steps down as KP's governor
Speaking about India, the newly-elected prime minister lamented that despite them wanting peaceful ties with India, they know that until the Kashmir issue is resolved, relations between the two cannot be strengthened.
Urging Indian premier Narendra Modi to understand the issues of the people living on both sides, he questioned there is poverty, unemployment, medical issues, etc. then "why are we harming ourselves and the generations to come?"
He said Modi should come forward and resolve the Kashmir issue according to the will of the Kashmiris and reiterated that his government will continue to raise its voice for the people of Kashmir.