Pakistan needs timely elections: Abbasi

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tussle among state institutions; Verdict without a right to appeal always raises questions

Islamabad

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday said the Pakistan Muslim League-N would contest the next general election on the basis of its five-year best performance and unprecedented development work.
The country and the democracy need timely conduct of general elections, the premier said while talking to a private television channel.
“Whatever the present PML-N government has done over the last five years, including the strengthening of economy, maintaining law and order etc., is unmatchable and has never been done by any government in the past. It is a fact and history will prove it,” Abbasi said.
To a question about Indian army chief’s remarks, he said India might have several objectives but it should realize the situation along the Line of Control.
Ruling out any prospects of war, the prime minister said both the countries should avoid escalation. “There are no threats of war. It might be a political gimmick on their part,” he added.
The prime minister said Pakistan had never indulged in unilateral actions. It always stood for dialogue but it should be based upon respect and without compromising on the core issue Jammu and Kashmir.
To another question, he said no case was pending against Hafiz Saeed inside Pakistan. It was the Election Commission which looked into the matters of registering political parties and the government had nothing to do with it, he added.
Prime Minister Abbasi also rejected the perception that there was any tussle among the state institutions. It was part of democratic system in which judiciary, executive and media were trying to create their spaces, he added.
He said he had never commented on the judicial verdicts. On July 28 last year, a decision was delivered which had no legal precedent but it was implemented without a hitch, he added.
The prime minister said whatever he said was about public opinion over the decision. The public had not accepted it, he said, adding that Nawaz Sharif’s receivable was declared as his salary instead of deciding the case on Panama Papers.
Each case had its effects and only history would tell, he remarked. Whether the process adopted in that particular case had any such precedent in the past, he questioned. The verdict without a right to appeal always raised questions, he added.
About the problems in Afghanistan, the prime minister said Pakistan had always been supportive of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution. “The world, including Pakistan, can only play the role of a facilitator,” he added.
He also referred to the trilateral Pakistan-Afghanistan-China process initiated by China to address the issue and said Pakistan always stood for peace in the brotherly country.
The prime minister also mentioned the presence of three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and said the world should help in their repatriation.
About the proposed merger of FATA with KP, he said the recent legislation to extend the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to FATA was a step forward in that respect and all other recommendations would also be implemented gradually.
To a question about the privatization of PIA, he said the government had suffered $ 4.5 billion losses to run the national flag carrier. It was his personal and professional opinion that without wasting more time and money PIA should be privatized so that it could compete with other airlines.
Speaking about Pakistan-US relations, the prime minister said the dialogue process between the two nations is ongoing at every level. “A US delegation visited Pakistan, while a delegation from here also visited the United States.”
He said that a dialogue with the US military is still ongoing, despite Trump statement. “We are a sovereign state and do not want any act to occur that could deteriorate the regional situation,” Abbasi said, adding, “We are bound to safeguard our borders.”
He said that if a drone strike takes place then they would take action against it, adding, “When your sovereignty is threatened then you get ready to fight a war with the entire world.” He said the next elections will be held on time, adding that the country and democracy need timely elections.
The prime minister further said there is no threat to Senate elections and they too would be held on their due time. “All political parties want the democratic process to continue.” He said that he does not believe in conspiracies, however, added that unfortunately conspiracies have been hatched against democracy in the state.
“If my party asks me to dissolve the assembly, I will. But won’t do so under pressure by someone,” Abbasi said.—Agencies

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