Imran Khan inspects the locally manufactured electric bikes during a ceremony at the PM House on Thursday. Twitter photo
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday launched the country’s first ever locally manufactured electric bike (e-bike).
Imran during the ceremony said that the launch of the electric motorcycle was a futuristic step and that the government’s new policy on electric vehicles (EV) sets a roadmap and sets the direction for the future.
The e-bike campaign was part of the government’s five-year Pakistan Electric Vehicles Policy 2020-2025 approved last year and envisaged targeting a robust electric. By 2030 and 2040, the market share of passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks will be 30% and 90%, respectively.
Imran said the EV police would be export-orientated to encourage economic growth by using local raw materials in order to manufacture indigenous products.
Apart from reducing pollution, the PM said, the electric vehicle sector would open up an entirely new sector in the country and generate employment opportunities.
Electric vehicles, especially electric motorcycles, need to be introduced because they are becoming more common in cities to limit pollution, Imran said.
"When you decide to keep your air, water and cities clean, you have to take initiatives like the 10 Billion Tsunami Programme,” he said and lamented that Pakistan was one of the few countries with minimal tree cover.
The prime minister said another step that the government had taken to increase the tree cover was the setting up of national parks. He said it was for the first time that measures Pakistan was taking to improve the environment were being acknowledged internationally.
The world now recognises Pakistan as one of the few countries fighting global warming.” Imran stressed the need for long-term planning, terming it crucial for a country's progress. "Countries that have progressed thought about the future," the premier said, giving the example of China.
The prime minister said if policies in a country kept on changing from election to election, the country would have no roadmap for the future.
"Policies have to be devised for the long term so that we leave a roadmap for future generations," he emphasised.
The premier also announced that the government was preparing master plans for cities. Particularly giving the example of Islamabad in this regard, he regretted that tree cover in the capital had reduced significantly over the years, which he said was due to a lack of planning.
"And so we are making master plans for cities, and some of these plans are due to be completed in six months,” he said.
"We will focus on the installation of water treatment, waste treatment and treatment systems (as part of the plan).”
With regards to Lahore and Peshawar, the premier recalled that the cities were once called the cities of gardens. "But now pollution has increased to such an extent, especially in Lahore, that it poses threats to human life,” he said.
On his twitter handle, the prime minister apparently referred to the upcoming monsoon tree plantation drive in the country under his government’s much ambitious Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project and Green and Clean Pakistan initiative.
"It is very difficult for the salaried class, workers and labourers to construct or purchase a house in the cities due to soaring prices of land,” the prime minister told the ceremony in Islamabad on Thursday.
Imran said that the ticket prices for the Peshawar BRT were "just right." "Our programmes should give priority to improving the lives of the common man. Everyone can afford the ticket which ranges from Rs10 (0.02 files) to Rs50 (Dh1.02). There are also tickets for students to make travelling easier for them and hospitals have been connected so people will no longer face difficulties in this regard.”
"We had a very difficult two years. We didn't have foreign exchange and couldn't pay our debts. We have avoided a huge crisis because we didn't default (payments). But I know it hasn't been easy for the people, I understand the difficulties they faced and still are facing,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
The prosecution said it would violate public morals, harm the public interest, and incite hate speech. Those who committed these crimes will be imprisoned for no less than five years, pay a fine of no less than Dhs500,000, and imprisonment and fine not exceeding Dhs50,000.
WHO and partners said that apart from huge concern over deaths, an increasing proportion of the workforce continue to suffer from burnout, stress, anxiety and fatigue.
The blaze took place in the village of Lesnoy, 300 kilometres (185 miles) from the capital in the region of Ryazan. Authorities originally said 15 people had died, but later said one man who received severe burns had died in hospital.