ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has distanced himself and his party, the PML-N, from the tirade of a ruling party lawmaker against the Ahmadiyya community.
Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar, a son-in-law of deposed premier Nawaz Sharif, has called for a ban on hiring Ahmadis in the military and the judiciary.
Speaking in the National Assembly earlier this week, Safdar also demanded withdrawal of a decision to name a department of the Quaid-i-Azam University after Nobel laureate Pakistani physicist Prof Dr Abdus Salam.
“These were Safdar’s personal views and the party does not agree with it,” the prime minister said. “Such kind of provocation should be avoided,” he said, adding that being the parliamentary head he would ask Safdar to explain his position on the issue.
Positive turnaround in economy
Premier Abbasi also said that the country’s economy had shown a positive turnaround and was fast growing in the face of numerous challenges inherited by it at macroeconomic level in 2013.
The statement about the economy came a day after army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa voiced concerns over ‘sky-high’ debt of the country.
Talking to a private television channel, he said the government was fully focusing on increasing exports and to reduce imports and in that connection it had given incentives to exporters and was interacting with the business community to take their inputs regularly.
“Pakistan of 2017 is very different from that of 2013,” he added. The country has achieved 6% economic growth as compared to 3.6% during the previous government era, while inflation had been brought down to a single digit.
The prime minister said he had talked about a grand dialogue among the country’s political parties on economic policies, adding that whosoever come into power the economic policies should continue.
Regarding privatisation policy, he said that whenever the government tried to privatise national entities it was made a political issue. “We do not want to create instability in the country.”
Abbasi said privatisation was the only solution of PIA but unfortunately neither the courts nor the provinces and even the political parties did not agree on it. He said there was a need to create political consensus on it, because PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills were the two big entities incurring billions of rupees losses to the national exchequer.
To a question about demand for the finance minister’s resignation, the prime minister said Ishaq Dar was the best finance minister of Pakistan at this time, adding that he did a tremendous job in strengthening of country’s economy.
He brushed aside the impression that any international financial institution had informed the government that they would not deal with Dar. “I am fully satisfied with his performance and he should continue as the finance minister till the court’s judgment.”
To another question regarding return of Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, Abbasi said they were independent people and they would make their own decisions about returning to Pakistan.
About the disqualification of Sharif by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case, the prime minister said the history would judge the decision.