Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses at Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar ceremony in Islamabad on 24th December, 2021.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was surprised at media reports that self-exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is returning home as his conviction could be withdrawn and wondered “how can a convict become prime minister of the country for a fourth time?”

The prime minister was talking to a group of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders to discuss political developments in the country on Friday.

When contacted, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the premier was surprised as to how a convicted man could return to the country to become prime minister for the fourth time.

He said the prime minister also wondered how the Supreme Court, after disqualifying a person, could allow him to contest election.

Interestingly, former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said in a statement on Friday that he was going to London to bring Nawaz Sharif back to the country.

Fawad quoted Prime Minister Imran as saying that Nawaz had failed to give money trail of their assets to the courts.

HOUSE BUILDING: Speaking at a ceremony marking the approval of more than Rs100 billion housing loans by private banks under “Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar Scheme,” Prime Minister Imran said the government’s scheme of subsidised loans for house construction would not only help the low-income group to own a house but also boost the national economy through enhanced construction activity.

“This is a great moment for Pakistan because we are heading on the path which we should have opted way earlier,” he said.

He lauded the banks for mending their attitude towards the common man who otherwise used to consider himself an alien in the westernised atmosphere of banks.

The PM said the government was not only extending housing loan facilities to the low-income group but had also introduced single national curriculum to provide quality education to their children.

Citing the success of the Chinese model, he said China had taken out 700 million people out of poverty by uplifting its low-income group. By adopting that approach, Pakistan — with a 220 million population — should have been a very strong country and powerful economy. “No country with a very low ratio of people with buying power can excel,” he added.

The prime minister said it was pleasing that the banks had approved more than Rs100 billion loans for the low-income group and hoped that more people could be attracted if the scheme was properly marketed citing its ease and incentives.

He said as another incentive, the government had introduced a subsidy on the housing loan which he promised to increase with the improvement of economic situation.

Earlier, the prime minister distributed keys of house among the beneficiaries of the loan scheme and shields among three private banks which have showed impressive performance during the process.

Adviser on Finance Shaukat Tarin said in the past the banks never extended loans to the low-income group but the current volume of Rs260bn loan applications and approval of over Rs100bn loans manifested a remarkable change.

He said if it desired to take the mortgage ratio to 10 percent, the country should provide around Rs5.5 trillion loan within 10 years. He said the target of loans equaling 1-1.5 percent of GDP a year would lead the country to development.

Chairman of the Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority retd Lt Gen Anwar Ali Hyder appreciated the approval and disbursement rate of the housing loans.

He said six months ago, there was no concept of providing housing loans to the low-income group as no one ever paid attention to this segment of the society.

State Bank Governor Raza Baqir told the gathering that loans of Rs109bn had been approved while the banks had so far disbursed Rs32bn as housing loans among the applicants. He said on average, the banks were approving Rs4.2bn loans and disbursing Rs1.7bn a week.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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