Imran strikes a note of optimism in Independence Day address to nation | Pakistan Today

Imran strikes a note of optimism in Independence Day address to nation

–Premier says past two years were difficult but things are ‘improving’

–Says new deal signed with IPPs to cut cost of power generation

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that the past two years were difficult for the government as “we did not have foreign exchange and could not pay our debts”, but things were now “improving”.

In a televised address to the nation on Independence Day, the premier said, “We have avoided a huge crisis because we did not default [on payments]. But I know it has not been easy for the people, I understand the difficulties they faced and still are facing.”

However, the economy has improved, the premier said, adding that the stock market trends indicate the confidence of investors and business community in the economy. He attributed the improvement in the economy to the boom in the construction sector which led to jobs and wealth creation.

“Despite the pandemic, our tax collection in June exceeded our targets,” he said, adding that exports have gone up, despite the coronavirus crisis that has wreaked havoc on global economy.

He also congratulated the nation for coming together and “fighting against the coronavirus” and said, “Hardly any other nation was able to successfully balance” between economy and the virus. He pointed out that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had reduced and economy had started an upward journey as well.

“This does not mean we have won this battle,” he cautioned and urged people to continue taking precautions, the most important and basic of which is to wear a mask while leaving the house.

The prime minister also told the nation that the government had reached an agreement with independent power producers which would lead to a reduction in the cost of electricity production, thus reducing tariffs.

He said that Pakistan’s industries could not compete with other nations of the subcontinent like India and Bangladesh as the cost of production in the two countries was low due to cheap electricity. Pakistan, meanwhile, is facing a huge circular debt because the tariffs were less than the cost of generating electricity, which was high.

He also announced that a reform package will also be introduced in the coming days in order to improve the distribution network in the country by reducing line losses and curbing power theft.

The premier said that Pakistan was “a glorious dream” of an Islamic welfare state where law was supreme and everyone had equal rights regardless of their race, caste or religious beliefs. Hard work and determination was needed to realise this dream, the premier said, adding that the government was now working towards achieving the vision of the forefathers.

He also expressed solidarity with the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and pledged that Pakistan would continue to extend diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris’ struggle for their right to self-determination. The prime minister assured the IOK residents that Pakistan will continue to raise the Kashmir issue on all forums and will also pray for the residents of the occupied territory.

In a series of tweets posted earlier, the prime minister had felicitated the nation while discussing the same matters.