QUETTA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday launched the state-run National Health Programme (NHP) benefiting about 76,000 families in four districts of Balochistan.
Underprivileged residents of Quetta, Kech, Loralai and Lasbela will benefit from the government-funded programme.
Salient features of the PM’s National Health Programme
- Treatment for underprivileged at both public and private hospitals without delay
- Rs50,000 on PM’s cards for treatment of common illnesses
- Rs300,000 set aside for treatment of serious medical conditions
- Limit can be extended to Rs600,000 if funds run out during treatment at hospital
- Toll-free number set up for registering patients’ complaints
Speaking at the NHP launch at Governor House, he said the programme would help eradicate various diseases from the province and protect people from fatal diseases.
“I am personally monitoring this programme,” he said.
‘Imran will have to be patient even after 2018’
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, referring to the constitution of a judicial commission to probe revelations made by the Panama Papers, said he was ready for accountability.
Taking the opportunity to launch a verbal attack on his opponents, Nawaz, without naming Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, said: “You will not only have to be patient until 2018, you will have to be patient even after the 2018 elections,” hinting at a win for his himself and his party in the next general election.
The jibe comes just a day after Imran at a rally in Lahore said that Nawaz, if proven guilty, won’t go home but will be sent to jail.
Nawaz said that turmoil and sit-ins were damaging to the ongoing process of development in the country. “Political culture has to change,” he said, adding that eradication of corruption was a top priority of the government.
“We have not taken kick-backs and indulged in corruption during government”, the PM said.
PM inaugurates development projects
The premier inaugurated several development projects, including a 220KV transmission line from Dera Ghazi Khan to Loralai and a gas project for Qilla Abdullah and different parts of Mastung, Kalat and Khuzdar.
The prime minister also performed the groundbreaking of seven projects, including three for the infrastructural development of Quetta.
Nawaz at the NHP launch said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would open new vistas of development and prosperity in the country and region, and that Balochistan would be a major beneficiary of the mega project.
Nawaz was accompanied by Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and other prominent government officials during the inauguration ceremony.
PM briefed on law and order, development projects
The prime minister was briefed on law and order in the province and development projects which are a part of the CPEC at Governor House.
Chief Secretary Balochistan Mr Saifullah Chattah in a detailed briefing said Balochistan was confronted with multiple challenges including terrorism, sectarian and target killing and kidnapping for ransom. Security of CPEC, Gwadar and implementation of National Action Plan were amongst challenges facing the province, added the Chief Secretary.
The meeting was told that unwavering political will and effective coordination between intelligence and law enforcement agencies has resulted in elimination of high profile terrorists.
The number of bomb blasts in the province dropped from 483 in 2013 to 27 in 2016, while incidents of rocket fire dropped from 372 to five over the same period.
Incidents of 90 highway robberies occurred in 2013, which fell to nine incidents in 2016 while incidents of kidnapping for ransom dropped from 49 to eight for the same period.
Three new medical colleges were established, and two new residential colleges were built at Kharan and Sibi. The creation of 141 primary schools was possible during the present government, he said.
Bolan Medical College was given the status of medical university, Agriculture College Quetta of an agriculture university and two sub-campuses of the University of Balochistan were created.
Around 105 small dams, 659 water supply schemes, 3,451 kilometres of roads and two new 50-bed hospitals were built at Gwadar and Sui, and 21,000 jobs created, he said.
The prime minister was of the view that said that the solution to Balochistan’s problems lay in quick execution of development projects. “It is time to do what could not be done in the past,” he said.
The federal government will ensure provision of required assistance and help so that the issues of Balochistan are adequately resolved, he said, adding that the government will increase the allocation of funds to the province in the upcoming fiscal year.
The Prime Minister said that Balochistan and its people will be the biggest beneficiary from projects like the Gwadar port and CPEC. These two projects alone have the potential to change the destinies of millions of people in the country and region, the PM emphasised.
Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai, CM Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri, Minister for Safron Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, National Health Services MOS Saira Afzal Tarar, National Security Advisor Lt Gen (Retd) Nasser Khan Janjua and members of the Provincial Cabinet were present during the meeting.
Security protocol causes traffic jams
In preparation of the premier’s visit, security was tightened in and around Quetta, with shops closed down and Police and Frontier Corps personnel deployed in the city. Roads leading to Governor House and Chief Minister House were closed for traffic.
Closure of roads resulted in severe traffic jams in various parts of Quetta. The premier’s plane landed at Quetta airport, from where he flew in a helicopter to Khalid airbase in Quetta’s Cantonment area. Nawaz, who was received by prominent government officials, then travelled by road with protocol to Governor House.