ISLAMABAD : Federal Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal has said that consultation between the government and opposition to reach consensus on caretaker setup is underway.
Talking to media-persons at a Regional Conference, Pakistan – A Land of Opportunities for Central Asian Republics here on Wednesday, Ahsan Iqbal said, “Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition have initiated consultation process regarding caretaker set-up.”
He expressed the hope that the opposition would agree to the best possible names who have strong and unwavering democratic credentials and could ensure timely elections.
To a question, the Interior Minister said decision regarding putting names of persons on Exit Control List (ECL) is taken by Cabinet.
“We have sent around 600 such cases to Cabinet which has authority to accord approval in this regard,” he said.
He said Ministry of Interior takes decisions as per law and constitution and it has no authority to decide ECL cases.
Earlier, addressing the Conference, Ahsan Iqbal, who is also Minister for Planning and Development, said Pakistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs) would benefit from platform and infrastructure being constructed under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The Minister said two more corridors would also be completed during next few years based on CPEC connecting Pakistan, China and Central Asia. One corridor would link Peshawar with Kabul and Tajikistan and the other will connect Quetta with Herat and Turkmenistan.
He said these corridors would not only provide connectivity to Central Asia but also extend it upto Russian Federation.
Ahsan Iqbal said the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation programme would also be a game changer as it would create connectivity of the region with Asia, Europe and Africa.
He pointed out that CASA-1000 will create a platform for electricity transmission within the region from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan and added TAPI would also be completed soon.
The Minister announced establishment of a Central Asian University in Pakistan to promote regional cooperation.
Ahsan Iqbal said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has turned bilateral relationship between Pakistan and China into a strong economic bond.
Highlighting various features of the mammoth project, the Minister said developments in energy and infrastructure will change landscape of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, addressing the seminar, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua pointed out that Pakistan shares strong connections with the Central Asian Republics.
She said Pakistan was amongst the first countries which recognized the Central Asian Republics.
Highlighting the challenges faced by the region, the Foreign Secretary said the Chinese initiative of One Belt One Road is a ray of hope to regional countries to work together and set aside their differences for a prosperous and peaceful future.
Later, during question and answer session, National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen (Retd) Nasser Khan Janjua said stability in Afghanistan is of much importance for connectivity in the region. He said Pakistan supports reconciliation process in Afghanistan as there is no military solution to the conflict. “Both sides need to work together and chalk out a way forward to improve bilateral relations,” said Janjua, who recently visited Afghanistan.
Orignally published by INP