Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appealed on Thursday for an end to ‘negative, combative politics’ in the country, advising the parties staging parallel marches to work for national development instead.
“The country cannot afford any more subversion and negative politics. Let us work for the country’s development. If we do not win the next elections, we would at least inherit a developed country,” the prime minister said after inaugurating the rehabilitated building of the Quaid-i-Azam Residency in Ziarat.
The Residency was damaged in a terrorist attack on June 15, last year and the government rehabilitated the national heritage to its original shape. The project was executed by prominent architect Nayyar Ali Dada at a cost of around Rs140 million and it was completed in a record time of five months.
The prime minister hoisted the national flag and unveiled the plaque to inaugurate the building where the Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had spent last couple of months of his life. The ceremony was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Naseer Hussain Janjua and senior bureaucrats.
The prime minister said it was the true Azadi march that both civil and military leadership were celebrating Independence Day here together and prayed that it should continue in the years to come. He stressed the need for ‘positive and constructive politics’ to strengthen democracy in Pakistan.
Referring to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek, the premier said protest marches were diverting attention away from national issues, such as Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
“Those who are leading these marches should focus on the establishment of peace and development of the country,” he said.
He said the ruling PML-N has accepted the mandate of other parties in their respective provinces like in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. “The federal government is making its utmost efforts to maintain peace in Karachi. The city used to witness targeted killings and lawlessness on a daily basis. Now, one can tell the improvement in the security situation in Karachi,” he said. “The PML-N wants to see a peaceful Karachi and Sindh.”
Nawaz said the government wished to have a good relationship with every political party.
“We have never discriminated against anyone. Balochistan is a good example where nationalists were allowed to rule and the federal government is cooperating with them,” he said.
He said the country could attain heights of progress and prosperity if it got a decade of peace without any interruption. All the disparities in the society could be removed, with the people getting full attention from the government during peaceful 10 years, he added. “But this requires devotion and hard work.”
Referring to the rehabilitation of the Quaid-i-Azam Residency, he appreciated the government and those who had worked hard to restore it in months. “The hard work and passion show the love and patriotism of Balochistan,” he added. “The restoration of the Residency in a few months is a classic example for us. We will make Pakistan a developed and prosperous country, if we work the way people did on the Residency.”
He promised to develop Balochistan at par with other regions of the country. “We make the Baloch people believe that they have equal stake in this country and they have to equally contribute to improving the situation,” he said. He reiterated that Gwadar would be the best port city in the region after a few years which, in turn, would strengthen Pakistan’s economy.
He reiterated that economic corridors from Khunjrab to Gwadar would prove a game changer for the area. He said the resolution of energy crisis was the government’s priority and projects of 10,400 megawatt capacity would be completed by the end of 2017.
The premier lauded the role of the civil and military leadership for restoring peace in the region. “Everyone can feel that the security situation has improved,” he said, “Pakistan needs 10 more years of peace and stability to attain the goals set of better economy and improved infrastructure.”
In his speech, Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch assured that the coalition government would always stand by the democratic government. “We will not let the conspirators succeed,” he added.
He claimed a steep decline in cases of kidnapping for ransom, targeted killings and sectarian violence in Balochistan. “Quetta used to be closed and plunged into darkness after sunset – but now people walk on the streets until 3am,” he said. A few years ago, Balochistan was infamous for corruption, he said. “There is a visible improvement and the menace of corruption is being eradicated while money is being spent on education and health sectors,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2014.
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