Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) had promised that it would revive the industry and create 10 million new jobs for the youth by shifting focus to skill development.
Unveiling a 9-point industrial policy, a PTI leader, Asad Umar while announcing the industrial policy back in March 2013 had made this promise.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan on the occasion had said, “The country would no longer need any foreign aid if his party was voted to power, as the main focus of PTI would be on human development and eradicating corruption.”
“Industry in Pakistan is in dire straits due to a crippling energy crisis, lack of access to finance and skill shortages, hence the PTI industrial policy aims to build solid foundations for the revival of industry by creating 10 million new jobs for the youth over the next five years and to make the sector more viable and competitive in international markets,” Umar had said.
In his telephone interview with Truth Tracker, Abdul Karim, special assistant to chief minister on commerce and industry, said, “The provincial government is navigating on that promised path to achieve its economic targets after identifying as many as 18 sites for establishing industrial estates.”
“At this time, initially, we have started work on establishing three industrial estates,” he remarked. First, he said, “Extension work on 1,400 acres is underway on the Hattar Industrial Estates for which investors have started forms submission.”
Secondly, he said, “Preliminary MoU has been signed with the Chinese to develop another zone at Rashakai Interchange to hand them over 2,000 acres of land while its feasibility study is in progress.”
Thirdly, he said, “An MoU has already been signed for allocating 1,500 acres of land in Dera Ismail Khan (D. I. Khan) and further planning is underway.” Similarly, he went on to say that 500 acres of land has been allocated for industrial zone purposes in Karak and Kohat districts respectively.
“This is dead investment that we are doing but the credit will be claimed by another government,” he remarked.
By doing that, he said that the provincial government firmly expects Karak and Kohat regions would cash oil and gas sectors while the D. I. Khan region would serve as a CPEC junction, connecting Afghanistan, Gwadar and Gomal Zam Dam, which offers fertile position.
In addition, he said, “The long awaited Gomal Zam Dam has started function, which helps irrigate 150,000 acres of land, sparking competition among industrialists to establish sugar mills in the peripheries of Gomal Zam locality.”
“These all are unprecedented changes for a better tomorrow,” he observed. “And we are heading to achieve our set targets of creating employment opportunities,” he said.
He said that he is not in a position to out rightly mention the exact number of jobs but the environment and practical position clearly depicts there would be record direct and indirect jobs’ opportunities.
“New job opportunities would open because there will be direct employees for people opening restaurants, mechanical workshops, filling stations and other such businesses,” he noted.
He said that the main focus of the provincial government is to attract investors following capital flight from the province.
“The province is on a take-off position in terms of economy,” he added.
“The merging of Fata with KP,” he said, “would offer yet another opportunity because the area is rich in minerals, precious stones with hydropower capacity.”
He said that 65,000 megawatts of electricity could be generated in the province but investors need to be wooed.
“We have Khyber Pakhtunkhwa road show in Beijing on 16th to showcase our products and to show investors what opportunities we have in KP,” he added.
But Sahibzada Sanaullah, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), said the PTI-led government has not created as little as1,000 job opportunities.
“I don’t know but it’s totally unbelievable to create 10 million jobs,” he noted. He said that he did not observe any industrial revival while the provincial government could not even make the closed industries operational.
Sardar Aurangzeb, another provincial lawmaker from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said: “Forget about jobs, all the promises made by Imran Khan to the people of KP are fake and concocted.”
“Khan,” he said “couldn’t create 1,000 jobs, and yet he talks about making 10 million vacancies.” He recalled that the PTI chief promised to control corruption within 90 days but what the nation witnessed was that even the PTI speaker in provincial assembly is blamed for involvement in rampant corruption.
He said that the finance minister of KP government who is from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) was blamed for massive embezzlement by the MD of Khyber Bank. “These are fraudulent and empty promises without an iota of truth,” he remarked.
“The province,” he reiterated, “is experiencing a financial crisis, which is ample proof of the inefficiency of the PTI government.”
Zahid Khan, a senior leader of Awami National Party (ANP), asked why the PTI chairman removed DG anti- corruption because the latter talked about corruption regarding the PTI billion tree plantation campaign.
“These are just a pack of lies,” Khan noted.
“There is no change on the ground and the hospitals present a dismal picture,” he noted. He asked, “Could the PTI tell me about establishing a single new college or university in KP?”
“The PTI is against corruption but today their speaker is being accused of misappropriation, which has happened for the first time in the history of KP,” he added. “How will they create jobs when the province is in an intense financial crisis,” he noted.
“How would the provincial government create jobs at a time when the dead industries could not be made functional?” he questioned.
Safiullah Gul, a Peshawar-based senior journalist and independent analyst, told Truth Tracker, “The development budget of the province is showing a ‘negative lapse’ of more than 70% during the last four years.”
“We don’t see any new mega projects being launched to multiply job opportunities,” he added.
Similarly, he said that the construction of industrial zones is not in sight, which could make a pitch for more economic activities.
Gul recalled that the Chief Minister Pervez Khattak in his meetings complained that the central government often refused to issue NoC whenever the provincial government wooed foreign investors or investment.
“That’s the reason foreign investors are not willing to come,” he noted.
Keeping in view the facts and comments by the ruling and opposition’s lawmakers, assistant to chief minister on commerce and industry and independent analyst, Truth Tracker rules that PTI compromised yet another promise of creating 10 million jobs in KP.