Smooth transition of power after elections vital for Pakistan’s prosperity

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 26 (APP):EDITOR’S note: Correcting typos in LOGNO: 196
Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said political stability and smooth transition of power
after the next general elections were essential for turning Pakistan into a mature democracy and achieving sustainable development.
Talking to a select group of journalists from print and electronic media here, the Minister said Pakistan was heading
towards smooth transition and would become a mature democratic country after next elections.
Ahsan Iqbal said it was for the first time in 66 years history of the country that the previous democratic government completed its
tenure which had sent a positive message to the world that Pakistan was becoming a democratic state.
Similarly, he said, the government wanted that the next elections in 2018 should be held in a free, fair and transparent
manner, adding Election law was passed and now work was continuing for delimitation of constituencies according to the latest census.
The Minister said present government has completed more than four years and emphasized the need to further strengthen democratic culture, so that it could be shown that second time a democratic government completed its five-year term.
The Minister said the journey to progress would continue and efforts were being made to make Pakistan economically strong and stable, describing politically stability as “oxygen for development and prosperity”.
He said good economic policies were like seeds which only grow and germinate in a suitable environment.
The Minister lamented that a particular segment of opposition parties was in the habit of finding faults with the progress which
the government made during last four years and was spreading disappointment in the country.
He said that PML-N won the general election of 2013 on the promise of development and it fulfilled its commitment, ending
terrorism and energy shortages to a larger extent.
The minister said that in 2013 Pakistan was considered the most dangerous country of the world due to terrorism and
deteriorating law and order, but with Nawaz Sharif’s efforts the country has become safe and secure.
Nawaz Sharif fulfilled his promises which he made with public in 2013 and put Pakistan on the road to peace and prosperity.
Replying to a question, he said former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the most popular leader among masses and the PML-N was united under his dynamic leadership.
“There was no rift in party and people had always voted for Nawaz Sharif,” he said adding, PML-N has become a “stainless steel”
and people of Pakistan and their representatives have complete confidence in the leadership on Nawaz Sharif.
Ahsan Iqbal said that the General Election 2018 would actually be a referendum on efforts of the government to develop Pakistan.
He said the incumbent government had initiated lot of mega projects from Gilgit-Baltistan to Karachi to lead the country
towards progress and development.
He said that due to the policies of Nawaz Sharif, peace has been restored in the country including Karachi and Balochistan,
adding Nawaz Sharif launched first-ever mega projects in Balochistan and built motorway from Gwadar to Karachi. The roads
built in Balochistan have shortened the distance between Gwadar and Karachi from 24 hours to only 8 hours.
“Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is rising and electricity shortages have been brought under control. The world’s
key investors were eyeing Pakistan as a potential investment market.
In the bracket of low and middle income countries, the World Bank in its recent report, ranked Pakistan as the 5th top country
for its private investment in infrastructure, Ahsan continued.
The Minister said 5.3 per cent GDP growth has been achieved while 6 per cent target of GDP growth has been set for this fiscal
year.
The Minister said had the political circumstances remained stable the government would have managed to achieve 6.5 per cent GDP
growth, however, 6 per cent target would be achieved positively.
He said the incumbent government added around 10,000 MW electricity to national grid in last four years as compared to
16,000 MW which were added in the last 66 years.
The minister said unprecedented investment has been made in power sector, adding that further 15,000 MW electricity would be
added to the system by 2025 to meet growing energy needs.

ISLAMABAD, Oct 26 (APP):Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said a systematic campaign was being run to create wedge in civil-military relations.
Some desperate politicians, who know that they could not win against PMLN in elections, could be part of a conspiracy against the democratic government, he explained.
Regarding role of media, Ahsan Iqbal said both successes and deficiencies of the government should be highlighted in a balanced manner rather than portraying a dismal picture before masses.
He said international media was portraying a positive image of Pakistan while local media was depicting a gloomy picture. But in reality Pakistan was rising and making achievements in different sectors of economy.
The Minister said freedom of expression was right of everyone while remaining within the domain of law and the constitution.
Ahsan said the media should form its own code of conduct and pursue self-accountability.
He said a section of media, political class and retired personnel were trying to build a narrative to paint a dismal state of affairs.
The institutions should devise a mechanism to properly monitor social media, which had become a tool of disinformation, he added.
The minister said Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf had a role in weakening the political system and national economy.
During his rule, $ 90 billion flowed into Pakistan but unfortunately he could not undertake a single project of electricity, motorway or a dam.
He said Musharraf could have gained a lot of benefits from the United States but failed to do so and only worked for prolonging his rule.
To a question about US relations, he said he told Americans that they could not show any development projects started by them in Pakistan except few of them in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
He said Pakistan and United States have to build a comprehensive relationship based on mutual trust, adding both countries have to find convergence and common grounds for cementing their bilateral ties.
He said US should understand that oppression against Muslims in the world was the main cause of resentment and extremists use this phenomenon to promote extremism.
“I also conveyed the US officials to play their role in peaceful settlement of conflicts particularly Kashmir,” he added.
He said the US has been asked to facilitate Pakistani students seeking admission in their top universities for which Pakistan would bear all expenses.