PM Shehbaz to auction his Toshakhana gifts for welfare of orphans

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the launching ceremony of the National Programme for Solarisation of Agricultural Tubewells in Islamabad on August 8, 2023. — PID
  • The previous government “poisoned” the society: PM Shehbaz.
  • Says Imran-led govt also strained ties with friendly countries.
  • “Next govt should pursue SIFC vision to rid country of loans.”

Hours before signing a summary for the dissolution of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday announced auctioning of all of the Toshakhana gifts he received during his term to support orphan children.

He made the announcement during his interaction with delegations of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), and the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA).

“I announce auctioning of all of the gifts worth millions or rupees at Toshakhana. But the whole of the amount will go nowhere else but institutions of the orphan children whether they are welfare organisations, educational institutions or medical facilities. We will hand them over under a mechanism to support the orphans who are unable to face the challenges of life,” the premier said.

He added the incumbent government inherited very tough economic conditions but the coalition parties did not imagine the severity of the situation.

The previous government, he also said, wasted the last four years in mere victimisation of political opponents and also strained ties with friendly countries.

PM Shehbaz said his government had tried its utmost to rectify the relations with friendly countries and had been able to control the damage to a great extent which also led to the signing of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He repeatedly called for the nation, particularly the youth, to forge unity and work hard to rid the country of loans and “make Pakistan a great nation”.

He also clarified that they did not victimise any political opponent, adding that his government remained extremely busy tackling the challenges of flood, inflation, economy, IMF, wheat import and foreign policy issues.

The previous government “poisoned” the society and the rectification was not that easy, he added. 

With the IMF agreement, the premier said, the country was saved from default and otherwise, the situation could have been extremely difficult with long queues at filling stations and people taken to the streets. 

He said even the friendly countries had linked their support with the IMF deal.

The interim as well as the next elected government would have to join heads to strengthen the state and its people through self-sufficiency as the IMF had closed the doors to subsidies, he noted.

The friendly countries including Saudi Arabia are willing to invest in Pakistan and the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) would prove to be a game changer in this regard, the premier added. “The SIFC is programme for economic recovery. If it goes on, this will be a game changer.”

PM Shehbaz said he would send a summary for the dissolution of the National Assembly to the president on Wednesday and expressed the hope that the next government would pursue the SIFC vision to rid the country of loans within 5-10 years.

After the dissolution of the National Assembly, the chief election commissioner would be the right office to decide the future course of action regarding the elections. 

What is Toshakhana?

Established in 1974, Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries as a goodwill gesture.

It has valuables ranging from bulletproof cars, gold-plated souvenirs and expensive paintings to watches, ornaments, rugs and swords.

Tube-wells solarisation programme launched

Earlier today, PM Shehbaz launched a Rs377 billion “revolutionary” project to solarise 100,000 agricultural tube wells across the country, which, he said, is inevitable and the only way forward to make the country progress.

Calling agriculture the only sector to turn around the national economy, he said the provision of low-cost power supply was inevitable not only for the farmers but also the households, shopkeepers and industry to make the exports competitive.

During the last 16 months, the premier said his government made utmost efforts to launch the project but the political situation and uncertainty about the IMF agreement caused the delay.

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