Elections to be held on time: PM
BRADFORD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Sunday the coalition government was fully committed to holding free, fair and transparent elections on time and ensuring continuity of the democratic order in the country.
Addressing a large gathering of the Pakistani community here, he said it was for the first time in the country’s history that a democratically-elected government was completing its constitutional tenure, paving the way for democracy to get further strengthened and underpinned.
He said Pakistan and the United Kingdom enjoyed good and stable relations which would further boost in future. He praised British Prime Minister David Cameron and said he had played a historic role in Pakistan’s access to European markets.
Mr Raja said he would meet his British counterpart on Tuesday and discuss bilateral and other issues.
He said he could understand and realise the problems and difficulties of the common man because he himself had gone through these, but the hype created by the media in this regard was out of proportion. “Financial crisis, unemployment and other problems are everywhere, even in Europe and the United States, and Pakistan is to share these as part of this planet,” he said.
The PPP government, he said, had taken along allied parties in three provinces but never got involved in horse-trading in Punjab. “The PML-N left us at the centre but we did not leave them in Punjab and it is in spirit of addressing the problems faced by the country.”
The prime minister expressed the hope that all institutions would play their role in strengthening parliament. He said terrorism had been controlled and with the help all stakeholders, including Ulema, the menace would be addressed effectively. He praised PPP’s allies, including the MQM, ANP, PML-Q and Fata parliamentary group, for standing with the government despite various challenges. “The unity with the allied parties will continue since we have to move forward with consensus to solve problems of the country.”
The prime minister said there was not even single political prisoner in the country.
He said record development works had been undertaken notwithstanding the fact that the country’s economy was under pressure. Under the Benazir Income Support Programme, he said, seven million families were getting financial assistance which would continue to be delivered unabatedly.
The federal government, he said, had increased its expenditure by seven per cent and the provincial governments by 21 per cent because of hike in salary and pensions of employees.
Baroness Saeeda Warsi welcomed Prime Minister Raja Ashraf on behalf of the British premier and the UK government and said Bradford was ‘little Pakistan’ but the hearts of Pakistanis living here were very large.
She said Premier Cameron had signed a strategic document during his visit to Pakistan which unveiled new chapter of bilateral ties. She said that by 2015 the UK would provide education to four million children in Pakistan. “The UK will stand by Pakistan to address the challenges it is facing,” she said.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan praised Saeeda Warsi and said she was instrumental in generating support of the UK for Pakistan. He said there was a comprehensive roadmap for investment and support for Pakistan.—APP