Ahsan rules out general election before time

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LAHORE, Jan 27 (APP):Federal Minister for Interior, Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal Saturday ruled out holding
of general election before completion of constitutional term of
the incumbent assemblies.
Responding to journalists’ queries after inaugurating the
first-ever NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) Facilitation Desk for the business community
here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he said the Senate election
would also be held on time.
The minister said that general election could not be held
before July 2018, as the new voter lists and new delimitation of
electoral constituencies were yet to be completed. The elements
spreading rumours about early holding of general election were,
in fact, conspiring against democracy in the country. All such
claims were aimed at formation of a long-time caretaker government
in the country, he added.
However, these elements would face sheer disappointment in the
next general election as the people would support the agenda of
economic development, he said adding that there was dire need to
get ready for economic revival instead of indulging in sit-ins
and negative politics.
To a question, he said that Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N)
President Nawaz Sharif had already nominated Shehbaz Sharif as
the candidate for Prime Minister’s office in the next general
election and there should not be any ambiguity in this regard.
To another question, he said that ‘on-arrival visa policy’
had existed even before 2013, but it was not clear earlier.
However, the incumbent government had ensured transparency in
its implementation. The business community and tourists at
large would be facilitated under this policy, he said and made
it clear that security matters in this regard would not be
compromised at any cost.
Earlier, addressing the businessmen, Ahsan Iqbal said that
economic health of the country was very weak before 2013, as
Pakistan had, at that time, been considered the most dangerous
country of the world due to presence of terrorists and
deteriorating law and order situation. The industrial activity
had badly been affected due to power shortage, while country’s
economic growth had become stagnant at mere three per cent
annually.
Ahsan Iqbal said that the PML-N government targeted four areas including energy, extremism, economy and education and achieved considerable success in all these areas. He said the World Economic
Forum has declared Pakistan better than India as an emerging economy.
He said that GDP growth reached 5.3 per cent in the previous year
and it was expected to touch six per cent mark by the year-end.
The federal minister said that the incumbent government had
also added up to 11,000-MW of electricity to the national grid,
while investment in infrastructural development has reached
Rs 413 billion. Lahore-to-Karachi motorways were being completed
at a fast pace, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
project would change the destiny of Pakistan, as the two countries
were taking ahead the project to its next stages successfully.
Today, the world is eying Pakistan as an ideal country for investment,
he added.
In his welcome address, LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that governance and institutional quality had affected country’s progress
over the years.
He said that CPEC had changed geo-political situation in the
region due to which new geo-political pressures were developing on Pakistan. As far as completion of CPEC was concerned, he said that governments of Pakistan and China had to engage private sectors of
both countries to create a win-win situation for all.
Malik said, “We must develop a comprehensive approach with the ownership of all stakeholders to succeed in implementation. The
proactive approach adopted by Chinese businessmen gives this impression that they are taking CPEC much more seriously than us.
“The government needs to give right type of incentives to transform this scenario where both Chinese and Pakistani businessmen have level playing field and fair opportunities to grow.”
On this occasion, Lahore Chamber’s Senior Vice President Khawar
Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil also assured the federal
minister of the best cooperation from the business community.