MIANWALI   -   Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday reiterated his government’s resolve to confiscate the properties made by the previous rulers out of the looted wealth and bring back the public money laundered abroad to spend it for poverty alleviation. He also said the accountability process would proceed unhindered.

Addressing the launching ceremony of Mianwali Express, to ply between Lahore and Mianwali, Imran said during his visits to the western countries he would urge their leaderships to stop inflow of the corruption money to their countries, if they wanted that money to be spent for poverty alleviation in the developing countries.

ADOPT A HOSPITAL

Imran Khan invited the private sector to step forward in adopting the country’s major hospitals and join the government’s journey of bringing improvement in health sector.

“Under the adopt-a-hospital project, we can bring a significant change in health sector through public-private partnership,” he said in his address at the foundation-laying ceremony of a hospital in Mianwali’s Namal Valley.

Imran said the government alone could not revamp all hospitals across the country, however financial assistance from private sector could yield positive results.

He lauded British-Pakistani businessmen and founder of MCR property group Aneel Mussarat, who will finance the Namal hospital to cater to the health needs of thousands of patients.

He said several other groups had also approached him to adopt a hospital, which was an encouraging sign.

Terming corruption as the biggest impediment in the country’s progress, Imran said looters of public money would be held accountable at every cost. “This time, the powerful will come under the claw of accountability who had inflicted immense damage to the country during their tenures,” he said.

He said regardless of any opposition, the accountability process would proceed unhindered. “I have been waiting for this moment since 22 years [of my political struggle] to bring to book those who plundered public money,” he said.

He said national culprits were raising hue and cry over accountability, dubbing it ‘political revenge and a threat to democracy’. “In fact, they want to hide their corruption, but people are well aware of these political gimmicks,” he said.

Imran said the government had given full authority to the institutions to proceed with the accountability process without any pressure.

By ending corruption, the prime minister said he wanted to restore the confidence of international investors in Pakistan. He said several overseas Pakistani entrepreneurs told him that they were willing to invest in Pakistan, but were hesitant over corruption.

The prime minister expressed confidence that Pakistan would achieve the status of a strong and prosperous country as the government had started taking tough measures in the best national interest. “It’s my promise to the nation that I will get this country on the trajectory of development,” he said.

The new Lahore-Mianwali train will depart from Lahore at 2100 hours and reach Mari Indus Railway Station of Mianwali, the native town of the prime minister, at 0600 hours. Meanwhile the train will also depart from Mianwali at 2100 hours and reach Lahore at 0600 hours. Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razzak Dawood also attended the event that marked the ribbon cutting by the prime minister to open the second Lahore-Mianwali train facility for the people of the city.

The facility would charge the passengers Rs350 for the economy class and Rs800 for the air-conditioned class.

The prime minister had recently launched Thal Express for the people of Mianwali, before launching the Mianwali Express which had stopped functioning in 1990. Addressing the ceremony, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed requested the prime minister to allocate some funds for the repair of a 28-km track falling on the route of Mianwali Express to lessen the travel time.

He said the railway ministry had increased the number of train passengers by seven million passengers and launched 36 new trains consequent to the hard work by the railway workers.

He said of 2800 railway crossings across the country, 1500 were unmanned which caused traffic accidents. The ministry had also saved Rs 10 billion of public money through different austerity measures besides reducing the deficit remarkably.

The minister announced a bonus of Rs 2,000 each for the railway workers who had worked hard for launch of the new train.  Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that the provincial government would resolve the issues faced by the people of Mianwali on priority. He said the Mianwali University would start functioning this year and the problem of sewerage and clean drinking water would be addressed without any delay. Besides, he said the work on Balkasar-Mianwali-Muzaffargarh road would start this year to facilitate the people of these areas.