PM says people of Thar will be the first to get benefits of coal reserves


Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced a health package for Sindh’s Tharparkar district under which Insaf Health Cards will be provided to as many as 112,000 families.

Addressing a public gathering in Chhachhro town of Thar where he arrived earlier in the day, the premier revealed that two modern mobile hospitals and four ambulances will also be provided for the region.

The prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Sindh chief minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim at the rally.

“This is my first rally in Pakistan following the elections, and I am holding it with you all,” Khan said at the outset.

“Let me explain to you why I am here. The first reason is that Tharparkar is the most backward area of the entire country. In all of Pakistan, it has lagged behind the most [and] the people of Tharparkar live below the poverty line. ”

The premier regretted that over the past 3-4 years, approximately 1,300 children had died in Thar “due to malnourishment and hunger”.

“I had [planned] to come here much sooner. My primary motivation behind coming into power was to bring the people of Pakistan out of poverty. Tharparkar is the place steeped the most in poverty. That’s why I decided to come here,” he said.

Prime Minister Khan then proceeded to announce the launch of the Sehat Insaf Card for the district.

“This health card will be given to 112,000 households. If any illness befalls a family, they will have Rs720,000 for treatment from any hospital they choose,” the premier explained. “And we will ensure this health card is brought to the entire populace of Tharparkar.”

“The other thing I want to do for you all is that two mobile hospitals will start functioning immediately. They will be vehicles equipped with surgical equipment so that surgeries can be performed and will have a pharmacy and medical staff. These mobile hospitals will travel around the district and be able to reach far-flung areas. I will also make sure four ambulances are immediately provided for the ease of people in far-flung areas who wish to seek treatment,” he announced.

Speaking about Thar’s coal reserves, he said the natural resources of the area would certainly transform Pakistan. He stressed that from now on, the government’s efforts will be geared towards providing the benefits first to the citizens of the area and then to the rest of the country.

“I assure you that you [people of Thar] will be the first to get the benefits of the coal reserves,” he added.

Khan also informed the gathering that the government will install 100 reverse osmosis (RO) plants in the area. He added that this would only be “the beginning” and more such plants would be installed in the future as per the requirement.

Reassurance to Hindu community

He sympathised with the people regarding the difficult life they live in the desert, but reminded them of the advantage of the sun that they have. With this, he announced that solar energy would be harnessed and used to power not only the aforementioned RO plants but provide electricity to all the villages throughout the district.

He pledged that the federal government will do all it can to uplift the people of Thar and ensure that they are given their due share.

“We will tell the Sindh government to fulfil their obligations and I assure you whatever the federal government is able to do, it will do for you all,” he vowed.

He said another reason behind his visit to Tharparkar was that almost half of the population there consists of Hindus and he wanted to let them know the government stands by them.

“I have come here today to tell you [that] my government stands in complete solidarity with our Hindu community. We will not tolerate any kind of injustice being done to them,” he promised.

He said Pakistan was founded due to the fact that Muslims, who were a minority in British India, were not getting their due rights.

“Therefore, in this Pakistan, it is our duty [to ensure] that whichever minority communities live here, live as citizens with equal rights; all their due rights shall be given to them, no discrimination of any kind will be allowed against them,” he declared.

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