Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that the government will provide Islamabad police officials with health cards and houses.
He made the remarks while speaking at the passing out parade of Islamabad police at Police Lines Headquarters where he was the chief guest.
“I want to say two things to Islamabad police. The first thing is that every official will be given a health card which means that each household will have health insurance for availing treatment at any government or private hospital.”
He added that police and government employees will also be able to buy their own houses under the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme.
“The installments you pay will go towards you owning your homes. This is a big part of our programme, especially for government employees and police officials like yourself.
The premier began his speech by highlighting the importance of the police in society. “A police force has a very big role in society. But, up till now that role has not yet been realised.”
He stated that due to colonialism, the people feared the police. “The English had a different sort of force that looked after the people and considered them their own.
“But because they considered us slaves, the attitude of the police was different.”
He stated that he wanted the nation to consider the police as their own and to “love them”. He said that when the PTI came into power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they saw that the police was the target of terrorism.
“More than 500 police officers had been martyred and morale was low. But the force changed in front of our eyes and fought terrorism. Then there came a time when the people of Peshawar and Mardan staged rallies in support of the police,” he said, adding that he felt pride at seeing the force changing in front of his eyes.
The prime minister also gave a few words of advice to the graduates at today’s ceremony. “You will always have two paths in front of you. Always pray to be put on the path of blessings and not the one that leads to your destruction.”
The prime minister said that back in his days of playing cricket, he was also presented with the choice between two paths when he was invited to play cricket in South Africa under the Apartheid regime and again when he was asked for the decision of a toss in a match. He said the “path which seems easy” is not always so and is instead the path which leads to “destruction”.
Referring to politicians from the opposition he said: “There were politicians who were given a lot of opportunities and made leaders of the country. They were also presented with these two paths […] but the paths they went on, they instead became a source of warning [for others].
“Sometimes they are going to the hospitals, sometimes they are going out of the country […] their children have run abroad, they have to lie to protect their fathers.”
The prime minister said that overseas Pakistanis were the nation’s “biggest assets” and only their help could “uplift Pakistan”.
The prime minister said that the most common complaints he received from overseas Pakistanis when he went abroad were the lack of security and safety for their investments and property purchases.
“When they purchase plots or houses here, they get taken over illegally […] overseas Pakistanis need confidence that their money and investment will be safe and secure.”
The prime minister said the police, therefore, has a direct role to play in “uplifting Pakistan” by protecting the investments of overseas Pakistanis.
The prime minister pointed out two major successes of his government which were a source of “great pride” for him.
Talking about the current account, the premier said it had gone into surplus for the fifth consecutive month for the first time in 17 years. He also mentioned the current state of Pakistan’s internal revenues and expenditures and said, “We have balanced it and are a little bit in surplus.”
He termed them “big achievements” of his government since according to him, no one thought it was possible in two years and everyone doubted it could be done.
The prime minister acknowledged that the salaries of officials in the Islamabad police were lower than their counterparts in Punjab. He was referring to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid’s address to the passing out ceremony minutes ago, in which the minister had pointed out the discrepancy in salaries and had requested the premier to “do something about it”.
While assuring them he would talk to Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh about the issue “to see what can be done about it”, he said that the actual problem were the massive debt the country was under.
Likening the country to a household, the prime minister said, “When loans accrue, a household has to cut its expenditure until incomes increase. When you cut expenditure, there is difficulty for the household.”
So until the income generation of the country increases, said the prime minister, the nation will have to stay “patient for a while”.
PM Imran said that expenditures of the Prime Minister House and Prime Minister Office had also been reduced by 60-70 per cent.
Once Pakistan’s income starts to increase and there is enough money, salaries will be increased for the Pakistan police, bureaucrats, government employees, and salaried classes, he added.