Delay in elections not to be tolerated: PM

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Calls for ‘truth and reconciliation Commission’ for consensus on national issues; Federal govt completes term; NA stands dissolved

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad

The federal government of PML-N completed its five year mandated term midnight last night and ceased to function at twelve midnight. With this the National Assembly as well as Punjab and Balochistan assemblies stood dissolved. This is the second time in the country’s history that a democratically elected government completed its mandated period.
Justice (retired) Nasirul Mulk nominated as caretaker Prime Minister will take oath of his office at a ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadr today. President Mamnoon Hussain will administer him the oath.
Before dissolution on Thursday, the National Assembly held a lengthy concluding session.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday stressed that Pakistan’s issues can only be resolved by a democratically-elected government.
Addressing the last National Assembly session, Abbasi said, “Pakistan’s issues can only be resolved by a government which comes through the will of the people.”
Stating that many undemocratic governments assumed power in the country but none of them ‘delivered’, the premier asserted, “The need of democracy and Pakistan today is free and fair elections.”
The premier reiterated, “We will not tolerate even a day’s delay in the upcoming elections.”
“A big part in ensuring transparent elections is the freedom of media,” the premier further said. The premier also appreciated the opposition’s role as the PML-N-led government became the second democratically elected government to complete its tenure in the history of Pakistan.
“The assembly would not have completed its term today, had it not been for the leader of the opposition,” the premier said.
Praising Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah, the premier said, “He served as an exemplary opposition leader and did not leave anything in his struggle to take forward the democratic process.”
Thanking National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, PM Abbasi said, “I would like to thank the speaker for the way the assembly conducted its business over the past five years; you never let the opposition feel that you are partial towards one side and tried your hardest to have consensus in the house over all matters.”
Highlighting the achievements of his government, Premier Abbasi said, “Despite internal and external challenges, economic growth was recorded and Pakistan’s security situation improved considerably since 2013.”
“We should analyse the past five years and see how the country was when the [PML-N] government assumed power and if there is any change in it now,” he continued. “Economy improved considerably in the last five years and Pakistan is a top investment destination today,” he upheld.
Stating that Karachi used to be the fifth most dangerous city in the world and now is no more ranked in the top 50 most dangerous cities, the premier said, “Thanks to all parties law and order was established in Karachi.”
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called for forming a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ to look back into history and evolve a consensus to resolve national issues. He said the objective of such commission would bring forth correct facts and document the record.
The prime minister said the country’s current challenges required a national dialogue to resolve the civil-military, parliament-judiciary and judiciary executive relations.
He pointed that the actions of National Accountability Bureau were discouraging the civil administration and government servants to take decisions, which he said was impeding the smooth functioning of governmental affairs.
Abbasi said both government and the opposition were against any delay in holding of general election for even a single day, adding that such idea would be totally unacceptable.
He said the government and the opposition demanded holding of free, fair and impartial elections on time and said the nation was looking forward to the next general election on July 25.
The prime minister lauded the role of all parliamentarians, party heads, National Assembly speaker and the federal ministers for playing their due role in strengthening of the Parliament and also democratic traditions in the country.
He said despite the serious challenges the government was confronting at different levels and remained steadfast and improved the situation. Abbasi mentioned the historic tax reforms his government introduced and said it would broaden the tax base and enhance revenues.
He said the government had also tackled the long term issue of electricity shortage in the country and for the next 15 years Pakistan would have enough power generation to meet its energy needs.
He said coal plants were today operational and was once the largest importers of furnace oil, but had not imported any oil for past eight months.
The prime minister said imported Liquefied Natural Gas was today openly available across the country and now private sector was playing its due role in providing gas to all consumers.
He said work on different phases of 1700-km-long motorway was going on and bring ease to the travelers, by cutting down on travel time, saving precious time and linking remote areas with the developed parts.
He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor was moving ahead at a rapid phase. He termed it a flagship project that would link Pakistan with Western China and Central Asian Republics and play a key part in growth of Pakistan and increase in trade and transport with the regional countries.

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