LAHORE: Prime Minister Raja Parvaiz Ashraf has said that law and order is a provincial issue and the army cannot be sent everywhere, Express News reported on Saturday. He speaking to the media in Lahore.
He was speaking on the Sindh law and order situation.
The prime minister said that the federal government was hesitant about sending in the army to resolve provincial issues for fear that such measures may turn out to be the “wrong cure” to remedy the situation.
“The federal government will be willing to help the government of Sindh if they ask for it,” he said.
On the issue of the government’s answer to the Supreme Court’s order for writing a letter to Swiss authorities, Ashraf said that it would “become known on July 12.”
While taking about the severe energy shortfall and loadshedding, Ashraf said, “The electricity crisis is the first priority.”
Free, fair elections
The prime minister said that the government would take all possible measures to ensure transparent, free and fair election in the country.
He asked the opposition to cooperate with the government in resolving issues being faced by the country and to face the challenges.
“I respect the PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz] leadership and the mandate of the Punjab government,” he said.
He added that there was no need of distances among political parties when the common goal was free and transparent election as the voters have the right to decide the future of any political party.
Army’s positive role
The prime minister said that the Pakistan Army has been playing a vital role in the defence of the country and it is a very positive role.
He added that the Pakistan Army has played an important role in floods, earthquake and other challenges faced by the country.
Appreciating the courage, dedication and commitment of the Army, Ashraf said, “We are proud of our forces as it is the source and strength of national stability.”
He further said that the army also helped the provincial governments in improving the law and order situation under the laws.
Commenting on the Balochistan issue, Ashraf said that Pakistan has been facing problems since its independence but the Pakistani nation has the strength to face such things.
He said that the Balochistan issue is very important as it is the biggest province and has a huge quantity of minerals.
He added that he had already invited all stakeholder and all Baloch leaders to come to the negotiation table, and assured that the federal government will ensure to resolve their problems.
He further said that the federal government has empowered the provincial governments, including that of Balochistan, and ensured more funds to them under the NFC.
The prime minister said the government had taken measures to overcome the energy crisis in the country and efforts would bear fruit soon, adding that the government had inherited the energy crisis from previous regimes.
On the loadshedding issue plaguing the country, Ashraf said that loadshedding was not a phenomenon limited to Pakistan only but Middle East, India, Sri Lanka and even European countries were facing problems in the energy sector.
He said that the increase in the cost of electricity was due to the high price of oil in the international market and listed projects the government had initiated to reduce reliability on oil as an energy source.
“We have taken initiatives like Neelam Jehlum Power project, Kohala wind mills project, Thar Coal project and many other projects to face the challenge of shortage of electricity.” However, he said, the available energy sources are equally distributed all over the country.
Speaking on the Independent Power Producers, the prime minister said that the accountability process initiated by Saifur Rehman in Nawaz Sharif’s government had damaged the expansion of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) units, saying that they were introduced in 1994 to face the serious power crisis at the time and were criticised without any justification.
He said under the capacity payment agreement, the IPPs were being provided money under international contracts and added that these contracts were very good as many countries followed this example. Ashraf cautioned that there would be a ‘disaster’ in the energy sector, if the IPPs were not there, since 9000MW were being produced by the IPPs.
Ashraf said if the IPPs were continued, Pakistan would have surplus electricity and would have been exporting it.
About Rental Power Projects, he said it was misunderstood, adding that the project was started even before he took over as the Minister for Water and Power.
He said RPP contracts were given on merit and advances were returned overnight on the instruction of the Supreme Court that indicated that the money was not misappropriated, otherwise billions of rupees could not be returned over night by any businessman.
The prime minister said, “We have to create a conducive atmosphere for the benefit of the investors so that they can earn from their investment and feel protected.”
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