Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said the first 12 months of the PTI government were very tough as they were given a bankrupt country and weak institutions but assured the people that a good time is in the offing.“One should not be afraid of tough time as it comes for your improvement and we must learn from it … I have no doubt that Pakistan will emerge as a great nation but for it, we will have to change and bring truthfulness in ourselves,” he said while speaking to the jubilant youth at the launch of Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan National Youth Development Programme at the Jinnah Convention Centre. The prime minister said progress of a society is not possible without merit, adding that those nations in the world move forward which follow the rule of merit. He said unfortunately today the country is confronted with a number of problems as no efforts were made in the past to promote merit and discourage corruption. He reiterated his government’s resolve to promote merit and prevent corruption. The prime minister said the youth are the future of Pakistan and the country’s destiny depends on them. He urged the youth to keep their thoughts high as a great man always emerges from his high thoughts. He urged the youth to read about the life of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as He was a role model for the entire world. He said as a result of establishment of the state of Madinah by Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), the Muslims ruled the world for over a thousand years. He said meritocracy and uprightness were hallmarks of the state of Madinah which helped it succeed.The prime minister said the main reason for demise of the Muslims in the world is the adoption of monarchy and not giving democratic rights to the society. He said the Mughal Empire went to decline as they did not follow the rule of merit. “The time has come to change our mentality to become a self-reliant and self-esteemed nation, and for this we will need to develop a culture of paying taxes to make the economy working,” he said. He said under the PTI’s flagship Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan National Youth Development Programme, Rs 100 billion loans will be given to the youth for setting up businesses, adding that out of this amount, Rs 25 billion has been allocated for the women. He said interest-free loans up to Rs 100,000 will be given to weak segments of the society purely on merit while loans from Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000 will be given on concessional rates for the new startups.In the third category, he said, subsidized lending from Rs 500,000 to Rs 5 million will be given for startups and existing Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs). He said target of the government under the scheme is to give loans to one million youth. The workers of JUI-F will also be given loans under the scheme, he said in a lighter mode. The prime minister said youth is real strength of a country and the present government has allocated Rs 10 billion for their skills development, adding that 100 small technical laboratories will be established where 100,000 youth will be imparted technical training. He said 25,000 youth will be associated with industries while 500 skills laboratories will also be set up inside madaris.Imran Khan said the PTI is the first government which wants to impart technical and science education to the students of religious seminaries and bring them into the national mainstream. He said efforts are being made to bring a uniform education system in the country to streamline the society. He said 200 teachers will be sent abroad for training so that they can impart better skills to the youth. He said the government will set up National Youth Skills Development Foundation so that youth of the country can interact with each other, adding he will personally monitor the programme to check its progress.He congratulated all the stakeholders for launching the first phase of the programme for youth of the country. He said minorities, being equal citizens of Pakistan, will also benefit from the programme alike. The prime minister said the next programmes to be launched for youth are Green Youth Movement, StartUp Pakistan and National Internship Programme.Earlier, the prime minister pushed a button to formally launch Kamyab Jawan programme for National Youth Development.