Pakistan News

Govt, opposition vow to oppose poll delay bid

Govt, opposition vow to oppose poll delay bid

ISLAMABAD: On the last day of five-year term of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government on Thursday, the government and the opposition vowed that they would not tolerate any delay in coming general elections scheduled to be held on July 25.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah delivered their farewell speeches in the house and called for formation of a “truth commission” to bring out facts before the people about major political developments that had taken place in the country since its creation in 1947.

In a significant development, the National Asse­mbly passed a bill related to increase in the salary of the president of the country.

Third National Assembly in the country’s parliamentary history completes its term with session marked by congeniality

On the last day of the third assembly which has completed its five-year term, the attendance of members was better as compared to the last few days of the session.

The overall atmosphere of the house was comparatively congenial as there was no exchange of allegations and harsh words between treasury and opposition members.

“We will not tolerate delay, even for a second, in the polls because timely and transparent elections are the biggest need of the country,” the prime minister said while highlighting government achievements during the last five years.

He said democracy had completed one of its phases when the government completed its five-year tenure and free, fair and transparent elections would be its next phase in which the people would decide the fate of the country.

He said no non-democratic government could solve problems confronting the country. “Only an elected government can do that,” he added.

Mr Abbasi said such fair and transparent elections should be held which produced clean and honest politicians.

He criticised the judiciary and the National Accou­ntability Bureau (NAB) for harassing the bureaucracy and urged both institutions to review their policies. “Government servants are not ready to sign files for whatever is being done by NAB,” he said.

Mr Abassi also called for a national debate on important national issues like terrorism, electricity loadshedding and foreign policy.

Stressing the need for forming a truth commission, he said the proposed commission would bring out facts about major national issues and political developments. “We do not want to punish anyone but to put these events on record,” he added.

“I hope whichever next government will come after the next elections will sincerely work on truth commission,” he said.

Mr Abbasi congratulated the parliament, the opposition and the nation on completion of the five-year term of the PML-N government.

Giving credit to the PML-N government for meeting challenges it inherited in 2013, he said the country had been shattered due to terrorism but the government overcame the menace and now peace had been restored in Karachi, tribal areas and other parts of the country. “At that time Karachi was declared fifth most dangerous city in the world but today it is on number 55. Similarly, growth rate in 2013 was three per cent which has now risen to 6pc,” he said.

He said economy has become stable, exports were increasing, investors were coming to Pakistan for mega investment and radical tax reforms had been introduced.

Mr Abbasi said the monster of loadshedding had been overcome by installing power plants and adopting other options. Similarly more than 114 gas reservoirs had been discovered during the last five years.

He also took credit for introducing the National Water Policy, initiating spade work on Bhasha and Mohmand dams, introducing reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and launching the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah also stressed that elections should be held on their scheduled time. “Even after announcement of the election schedule, uncertainty is still prevailing about the polls. People have started speculating whether the polls will be held or not,” he added.

He said completion of five-year term of the PML-N government was continuation of the struggle made by former prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.

Mr Shah said education was the only tool to change the mindset of the people who still cast vote on the basis of caste and feudalism.

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq requested the members not to criticise each other and demonstrate the restraint (witnessed in the assembly session) during their election campaigns.

He expressed satisfaction over the assembly’s performance and the federal government’s five-year term.

“I am thankful to all the members. In my books, Farooq Sattar is a parliamentary leader. Mehmood Khan Achakzai did all he could to strengthen democracy. I am also grateful to Sheikh Rasheed and Jamshed Dasti. They tried to uphold the respect of the parliament,” he added.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Shireen Mazari congratulated the parliamentarians on completion of the National Assembly’s term. She, however, said the government had not taken advantage of the parliament’s support.

She said she had learnt a lot in the parliament and announced that she would not contest the next polls.

Ms Mazari recalled an ugly experience when she was misbehaved with by a ruling party leader Abid Sher Ali. After some time Mr Ali went to Mr Mazari and sought an apology but she refused to accept it.

Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Sherpao praised the speaker and the opposition leader for running the house smoothly and said the parliament had enacted two major laws concerning electoral reforms and merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai said that some institutions did not accept the constitution and supremacy of parliament.

Opposing merger of Fata with KP, he said it had been done against the will of the people of tribal areas. ---Ends

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2018

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