Prime Minister Imran Khan, while recounting his government’s pro-poor initiatives like health insurance card, shelter homes and housing loans, said on Saturday the journey to develop Pakistan as a welfare state had started. Addressing a public gathering here after breaking ground of the Hafizabad University, the prime minister resolved that the government would uplift all the areas facing neglect in the past. Earlier, accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Member of the National Assembly Shaukat Bhatti and other party leaders, the prime minister unveiled the plaque for the construction of the university costing Rs 6 billion. Imran Khan announced that the Punjab government had decided to extend health insurance facility to 50 percent of the provincial population by the current year end and whole of the province by next year. Reiterating his dream to alleviate poverty from across the country, Imran Khan said as soon as Pakistan became a welfare state, it would emerge as a great nation. Calling the public gatherings of opposition’s alliance a “circus”, the prime minister said despite having looted the country for 30 years, they desired to continue enjoying privileges instead of facing accountability. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he said, acted as subservient to the opposition leaders in the past but the incumbent government made it to work independently. Due to the very reason, the opposition blackmailed the government on economic crisis, COVID-19 and even on the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) related legislation just to get NAB abolished, he added. “Should I let them go? Do you feel pity for them?” the prime minister asked the audience, which shouted, “No”. He assured the charged crowd that he would never pardon them until they paid back the nation’s looted money. Having failed to pressure the government, he said, the opposition resorted to target the judiciary, the Army Chief, and the Inter-Services Intelligence director general, which was tantamount to instigating a coup within the institutions, just to cover up their (opposition) theft. He said the conspirators like Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq of the past, and Mir Ayaz Sadiq (PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq for his statement on Indian pilot Abhinandan’s release) would be made accountable to law. As the crowd chanted “diesel diesel” (term referred to JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman), the prime minister rubbished his (Maulana Fazl’s) criticism, saying Islam was under threat due to the people like him, not the one who had raised the issue of Holy Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) sanctity at international fora. “I didn’t do it for any vote rather it is part of my faith,” he remarked. Recalling the controversy of poll rigging in 2013 and 2018, the prime minister said the PTI government would ensure holding the history’s fairest polls in future as multiple measures like electronic voting and other were being taken. He said the credit for introducing neutral umpires in cricket also went to him as earlier the local umpires used to get biased for their own teams.