PML-N will partake in PA polls, says PM

Shehbaz asks PML-N to finalise list for award of tickets; tells CPNE delegation apprehension of default is over

APP March 15, 2023
PHOTO: Radio Pakistan/File


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Wednesday the federal government was committed to fulfilling its constitutional obligation of holding election and would act as per the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Shehbaz, also the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), made it clear that his party would “whole-heartedly” participate in the upcoming elections of the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.

“No one should have a doubt about us regarding evading the elections,” Shehbaz told a delegation of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) here.

“The government is cognisant of the fact that timely election lead to a stronger state and its progress,” he said.

However, the prime minister emphasised that it was up to the ECP to take its decisions and “we will follow whatever is decided” by the polls supervisor. “We will whole-heartedly participate in the election,” he said, adding that he had directed his party to finalise names of ticket-holders.

In the same context, Prime Minister Shehbaz mentioned that the government had initiated work on the digital census and the funds for that purpose had been released despite financial constraints.

The prime minister said the country was passing through political and economic challenges, but all the political parties in the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) contributed positively towards improving the situation.

During the 11 months of its tenure, he said, the government overcame the threat of default. “Apprehensions of a default by Pakistan on debt obligations are over now,” Shehbaz said, expressing the hope that the staff-level agreement with the IMF “will be done soon”.

He regretted that the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government backed out of the agreement signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “It was not a private but a State deal, its non-implementation was big loss of the country.

He dismissed the impression that IMF talked about political instability in the country. He recalled that friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and China, extended support to Pakistan in its trying times.

The prime minister assured the delegation of the government’s commitment to implement measures to control inflation. He said that government would ensure austerity and provide relief to the poor, especially during the holy month of Ramazan.

He also lampooned PTI Chairman Imran for his “naked defiance” and making fun of state institutions by not appearing in courts. “First time in Pakistan, a so-called political person is considering himself above law,” he continued.

“Non-appearance in courts is tantamount to violation of the law,” the prime minister stressed. He recalled that Imran Khan himself used unlawful tactics against politicians, and now, he was trying to defy the rule of law.

During the PTI government, he said, PML-N leaders, including him, Nawaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah were dragged in fake cases, yet they appeared before the courts of law. Also, some senior journalists were manhandled during Imran’s tenure, he said.

Referring to Tuesday’s mobilisation of the police with regards to Imran Khan’s arrest warrants, Shehbaz said: “The current government is not taking any action on its own, but implementing the court order.”

Asked if the government was ready to hold talks with Imran Khan, he said that politicians always resorted to dialogue but the PTI had a history of not responding positively in this regard. The PTI, he added, even did not join the apex committee meeting on Peshawar blast.

On the Toshakhana, he said Imran, who called himself an ‘honest person’, was in fact a liar, who even sold a wrist watch with model of Holy Kaaba. He mentioned recent changes in Toshakhana policy that said the gifts up to $300 could be retained on payment of requisite amount.

The meeting held in-depth discussion on the overall situation in the country in areas of politics, economy, foreign affairs and security. Shehbaz termed CPNE an important link between the government and the masses. He apprised the news editors of the effective steps taken by the government in areas of economy.


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