Lopsided development harmful for Pakistan: PM Imran

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that lopsided development is harmful for Pakistan, adding that in the past, development funds were distributed on the basis of people’s influence, and not on the basis of need.
“Development funds, instead of being distributed on the basis of need, went to those places controlled by [politicians] with the most influence,” he said, adding that this inevitably widened the gap between the country’s rich and the poor.
The prime minister expressed these views while speaking at the launch ceremony of Data4Pakistan which, according to Radio Pakistan, is aimed at providing the public with access to poverty estimates for every district along with development and policy indicators.
The report added that the portal is part of the government’s Ehsaas initiative, and has been developed in collaboration with the World Bank.
Addressing today’s ceremony, the premier highlighted the disparity between Lahore’s development and that of the rest of Punjab.
“All of Punjab’s development budget was being spent on Lahore. Lahore was developing, but the cities surrounding the metropolis were cannibalising, regressing.
“Poorer areas were going backwards, while a select few areas were being developed,” he said.
Highlighting the cons of this phenomenon, Imran said: “Firstly, all of the people go to that one developed city seeking employment opportunities, putting a burden on existing facilities. Further, facilities such as health and investment remain limited to a small area.
“This initiative is crucial, because it gives us an opportunity to inform the people where exactly funds are needed. Why is there a need to spend money, what is the state of education in that area, and why are our girls not enrolled in schools, all of these questions and more can be answered [through this initiative].
“The current Punjab chief minister hails from a very poor area in the province. When he started spending money in his area, in Dera Ghazi Khan, there was a lot of uproar. However, when you go over the data you will realise that more money needs to be spent in DG Khan,” he said.
The premier added that that poverty was like a disease. “You are only able to find a cure once you have ascertained the exact cause,” he said.
According to Radio Pakistan, the premier maintained that in addition to helping identify the areas which need development funds, the portal will also give statistics about the issues being faced by locals.
The portal will also help in policy-making as well as in allocating the budget, the report quoted him as saying.

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