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PM Kakar voices for equal rights for minorities

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KARACHI: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Friday reaffirmed the equal rights for minorities and called for enforcing meritocracy and social opportunities for their uplift and mainstreaming.

In an interactive session, which was televised by the state-run PTV, with the students of Aga Khan University, he said the minorities were equal Pakistanis.

Calling for infusing a sense of confidence in the people, he said that meritocracy should be enforced, and social opportunities for minorities should be created.

To a question, he said that the people of Pakistan enjoyed freedom of expression and considering the country’s political history, any particular incident could not be associated with the government of that particular term.

He said that the incidents involving the violations of freedom of speech were not limited to a particular government.

Responding to a query by a university student about the arrest of journalists, the prime minister said that earlier journalists were shot at and faced many such acts which were against the freedom of expression.

“You have the freedom of expression and speech. You spoke your heart before the prime minister. After this, your allegation of no freedom of speech would carry lesser weight,” he remarked.

About the rights and status of Gilgit-Baltistan, he said GB was and would remain part of Pakistan. He said the matter of rights should be tackled peacefully without any resentment.

“The political procedure should move forward. The GB should be our Singapore. Our identities are associated with each other,” he remarked.

To a question, the prime minister said after 18th Amendment, health was a devolved subject with the provinces having all the funding to spend on the sector. The visionary leadership is essential to address the challenges, especially the management of funds, he added.

About the lack of education research, the prime minister said allocating billions of rupees for the parliamentarians amidst the higher education and research crisis was unjustified.

He said some individuals might have this realisation, but it should be at the level of policymakers.

He urged the students to keep raising their voices for the promotion of education to jolt the people at the helm of affairs.

To another query, he said he was not worried about the educated people moving abroad as they were not divorced from the society rather they would continue to contribute to the country’s development through their remittances.

“If a nurse or doctor is joining the global supply chain and contributing to the GDP, this is not a curse. This is quite natural. The gaps should be filled. Of our huge population, if some useful individuals go abroad, they are not divorced from our society,” he commented.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, he said that the educational institutions had always been very close to his heart.

He also gave a historical account of the education and research from the Greek period to the modern era experiencing unprecedented modern tools.

Health-Tech Summit

PM Kakar also attended the Health-Tech Summit organised by AKU.

Speaking on the occasion, he said that the government was eager to take advantage of modern technologies for enhanced access to preventive and curative healthcare for the people, particularly the most vulnerable ones.

He said the advent of modern technology in the health sector was an exciting time for patients, healthcare providers as well as the government.

The prime minister highlighted the role of the private sector and philanthropists in fulfilling the dream of universal health coverage.

He said the potential of technology to reshape healthcare was immense as gene therapy was no more a fiction but a reality.

Digital technology and artificial intelligence were powerful tools for healthcare providers to ensure the diagnosis far quicker than ever, he added.

AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin and retired Lt Gen Dr Nigar Johar also spoke.

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