On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated Air Sial during his day-long visit to Sialkot. He also hailed industrialists efforts in launching the airline.

PM Imran said that Sialkot is a role model for other cities in the country. The industrialist of this city, first of all, built the state of the art airport from their own resources and now the launch of this airline will further boost the exports from this city. Imran said apart from Karachi and Faisalabad, Sialkot is the third biggest industrial hub of the country. He hoped AirSial will give a tough time to PIA and other local and foreign airlines.

The Prime Minister while addressing the launching ceremony of new airline Air Sial at Sialkot, said the opposition criticized him for not opting for a complete lockdown to control the spread of COVID during the first wave of the pandemic. “When we refused complete lockdown the opposition used to give an example of Narendera Modi who imposed complete lockdown in India whereas we opted for smart lockdown which not only saved people from COVID-19 but also minimized the negative impact of pandemic on the economy,” he observed. Imran criticized the opposition for showing double standard on the issue of COVID-19. “Now as the second wave of COVID is getting intense the opposition holding political gatherings in the country which can further spread the virus and endangered lives of common man,” he observed.

He said the economic crisis begun in Pakistan when in the 1970s the industry of the country was nationalized and it deviated from the path of progress. He said the government is trying its level best to restore the confidence of investors so they set-up new industries. He said only through industrialization and boosting exports, poverty can be eradicated from the country. He said that the government will take measures to revive the local industry. He especially praised his cabinet members Abdul Razak Dawood and Hammad Azhar for resolving the problems of exporters. He said that he formed a task force headed by Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar to solve the problems of small and medium enterprises (SME’s) and it solved a lot of their problems.

The premier said that China through massive industrialization not only eradicate poverty but also become the biggest exporters of goods in the world. “Now no one can stop China from becoming a superpower,” he added. Imran said that Pakistan also replicating the Chinese model of industrialization through CPEC to overcome unemployment and poverty. He said growth should be inclusive otherwise it can create distortions in the society. He said soon a vibrant and strong local bodies system will be launched in the country which will make cities like Sialkot more independent and investment-friendly. On this occasion, he announced to establish an engineering university in Sialkot.

Earlier Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that biggest impediment the government faced to boost exports was the high cost of energy. He accused the previous governments of signing expensive power agreements which make the local industry uncompetitive. He said the government through strenuous efforts now reduce the off-peak time power tariff by 25 to 50 percent. He said the export figures on November shows that the economy is on the right track.

Hamza Habib is a senior journalist and former editor of correspondent.pk who has previously worked for leading newspapers and TV networks of the country. He mainly writes on the economy and political issues.


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