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PM launches health insurance scheme for Azad Kashmir

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• 1.2m families can avail treatment
• Says business-friendly policies bearing fruit

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday launched the health card facility for 1.2 million families in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

“By launching this facility we want people on the other side of Kashmir to know how we treat our people,” the prime minister said while addressing a ceremony held to launch the Sehat Sahulat Programme’s Universal Health Coverage for Azad Kashmir.

“By introducing health insurance in AJK, I want to send a message to the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, who are facing severe hardships at the hands of fascist Indian regime, how Pakistan treats its people in Azad Kashmir,” he added.

PM Khan said the present government was striving to make the country a true Islamic welfare state in line with the vision of Riasat-i-Madina and as per the Objective Resolution adopted by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in 1949.

“Instead of claims of making the country an Asian tiger or turning Lahore into Paris, we are striving to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state as per the Objective Resolution,” he added.

Mr Khan said that 1.2 million people in AJK would benefit from the health insurance and would be entitled to avail free treatment from 350 government and private hospitals across Pakistan.

He said this insurance scheme was first launched by the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, adding that six million people in Punjab were being provided with the health insurance facility, and the provincial government was striving to extend it to the entire province by the end of 2021.

The prime minister said the vision of a welfare state, which was introduced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), was aimed at looking after the poor and providing basic facilities to all.

He also referred to the welfare model of Scandinavian countries, including Denmark, Sweden and Norway, whose governments were bound to provide all basic facilities to their citizens.

“It is my faith that when you take care of the people, especially the poor, Allah Almighty increases your resources,” he said. This is why welfare states are richer, he added.

Prime Minister Khan recounted how he struggled for 10 years to set up Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital where patients were being provided free treatment for the last 25 years.

He said he had thought of launching a system similar to the current health insurance scheme while struggling for the cancer hospital.

“When I entered politics, I thought if I got a chance to serve the country, I will introduce a health scheme where people would be able to get free medical treatment,” he added.

PM meets economic team

Prime Minister Khan on Friday ordered that immediate steps be taken to pass on the benefits of the improving economy to the common man.

Presiding over a high-level meeting of his economic team, Mr Khan said the government’s business-friendly policies were now bearing fruit.

“Our economy is coming on track again due to the efforts of the government and the world is acknowledging Pakistan’s economic achievements amid Covid-19 crisis,” he added.

Mr Khan expressed his satisfaction over the increase in remittances from abroad and their maintenance at the level of $2 billion per month and said the growth of large-scale industry, record performance of the construction industry and increasing exports of the textile sector were some of the achievements of the government.

He said loans to the youth and the construction sector on easy terms by banks would further strengthen the economy.

The prime minister also stressed the need for promoting small and medium enterprises to improve economic indicators which were already on a positive trend.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020

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