PR No. 86 Islamabad: January 11, 2017

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal urged local governments to come forward and take up SDGs as their development agenda.

Ahsan Iqbal expressed these views while addressing to the inaugural session of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) on Chitral here in Islamabad . The event was attended by local politicians of Chitral,diplomats and PPAF officials. Minister appreciated the initiative by PPAF and the organizers and said that this is setting the way forward for local governments in Pakistan that they should take responsibility for development of their districts and realize the vision for our country.

He further added that the country is moving forward which gives us hope, confidence and energizes us to achieve our goals. Minister expressed that we want Pakistan to achieve 7% growth continuously. We need to create 15 million jobs every year so that we can accommodate our youth.

Minister added that Prime Minister has a vision of regional connectivity. Now the time has come when we have to take geo-economic advantage to make Pakistan hub of business, trade, commerce and manufacturing for South Asia, China and Central Asia which has 3 billion population.

Ahsan Iqbal complemented the support of all the political parties and stakeholders in Pakistan Vision 2025 and said that CPEC will transform Pakistan’s economy in future and make Pakistan a Asian tiger.

While talking about Central Asia Regional economic cooperation framework, Minister said that we are building two routes i.e. Peshawar to Kabul, and Kabul to Central Asia. Then, Quetta to Hairat and Hairat to Turkmenistan and this is how we will integrate Pakistan with Central Asia. He maintained that we are working on Chitral-Tajikistan connectivity to benefit entire region.

Minister also talked about Chitral Garam Chashma Road, Kalash Valley Road, Shandur Road Project, Wapda Power House, Electrification Project and Lawari Tunnel which was started in 70s and no government ever gave that much importance. Minister appreciated that 70% percent of the funds are released in our government and ensured that this project will be completed in 2017. He added that another mega project to be completed in 2017 is hydro project which was there but not funded and we took this challenge to complete this project.

Talking about the projects announced by Prime Minister, thr minister said that we are committed as PM has announced to set up university of Chitral in Chitral, PM health programme has been initiated and survey for LPG is also underway that will also help us to preserve the forestry in the region. Mobile towers are also put up to provide connectivity. These are billion rupees projects announced by Prime Minister for the people of Chital. We believe this is what you deserve to become a developed district and region.

We must be conscious of the fact that we need to preserve the beauty of Chitral and its environment. We will develop models of eco-development so that this development doesn’t destroy forest and beauty of this region.

Talking about challenges faced by SDGs, minister said that one major challenge is that our social foundations are not very strong; we have to take SDG as national priority. This is how we can participate to create strong social foundation to take Pakistan to top 10 economies by 2047.