ISLAMABAD, June 25 (APP): Minister for Information, Broadcasting and
National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid has underlined the need for national unity and cohesion to fight challenges confronting the nation
and strengthen democracy, national institutions and economy.

“We need to reinforce one another instead of bickering. We should
leave the task of electing or replacing the governments to our voters and use our precious time for curbing anti-state elements, restoring peace and progress,” he said while talking to a TV channel,
He said the opposition had the right to criticise the government
but it should not hamper the development process. “Let us not see one another with doubts rather we strengthen mutual relations and spend our energy to collectively meet the challenges.”

“We are treading on a path to peace and prosperity. Success is our
destiny and destination is close, and if we continue our journey with the same spirit, a few elements cannot hinder us achieving our goal,” the minister added.

He said the government believed in serving the masses and it was evident from the PML-N’s previous tenures. Pakistan conducted six nuclear blasts in 1998 but its two-third majority government was toppled. “Our government sent a message to international community that Pakistan is self-sufficient in its defence and no one can dare intimidate it.

Nuclear tests elevated Pakistan’s image and made its defence

He said the nation was well aware that from 1999 till 2013; during
the tenures of Pervez Musharraf and PPP, no mega project was started in the country. “But during last three years, the present government
started a number of mega projects in power, gas and infrastructure
sectors and people are well aware of these projects.”

The minister said the mega projects were being executed in a
transparent manner and nobody could have blamed the government for any corruption. They issued political statements but nobody could bring forth any misappropriation in mega projects like Thar Coal project, Motorway, Gawadar Port and power projects in Punjab. “There is no corruption charge on our government, including the Prime Minister or any member of his Cabinet.”

He said some confusions were created on the Nandipur power project
and the Prime Minister immediately ordered an audit of the project. The audit report revealed that work done on the project during the present government tenure was transparent, but it pointed to inefficiency and corruption committed in the previous government tenure.

The minister said rampant corruption in Hajj operation was also
witnessed in the previous government tenure and one of their ministers
had been awarded punishment by the court of law. During the present
government, the pilgrims had been facilitated who in response not
only prayed for the country but also for the government.

Answering a question about reference by Imran Khan in the Election
Commission of Pakistan (RCP), the minister said earlier the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief used to distrust ECP but now he had approached it showing that his previous stance was wrong.

He said it was an opportunity for Imran Khan to prove his allegation that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had some hidden assets and other than those already declared before the Commission. “We have always challenged Imran Khan to establish it and now again challenge that if he proves the hidden assets of the Prime Minister, we shall donate those assets to Imran Khan’s hospital.”

“What we have been stating was all the truth and now we also have an
opportunity to prove our truth.”

The minister hoped that Imran Khan would accept the ECP decision
on the references as his previous record about accepting decisions was
not appreciable.

Answering a question about the ToRs committee, the minister said
it was not the issue of terms of reference (ToRs) but of the election campaign. Since half of 2016 was down the road and 2017 would be the year of election campaign, the opposition was sorting out its ranks to face the PML-N in 2018.

When asked about grant of the KP government to a seminary, the
minister said it was regrettable as the PTI government has allowed grant to an outfit which nurtured a mindset that “killed our soldiers, chopped off their heads, laid landmines and attacked our civilians. Grant for them is a heinous crime. The nation cannot forget this mindset nor it can forgive them.”

He said it would have been better had this amount be spent on
education of the youth. “For a moment, if it is a political move – I
would say it is negative politics. Where was Imran’s patriotism when
this grant was allowed.”

About surgery of the Prime Minister, Pervaiz Rashid said he
underwent surgery of four veins. The way the people of Pakistan
expressed solidarity with the Prime Minister and prayed for his early recovery was itself a sort of referendum in favour of Nawaz Sharif.
About return of the Prime Minister, he said doctors had to decide
about his travelling and this decision was expected soon.

To a question about his meeting and reverence for Leader of the
Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah, the minister said he
always met him with respect and many others, whom he thought, were
senior to him in politics and superior in knowledge and age.

When asked about the PPP’s joining the PTI agitation, he said if
the party had decided to become a ‘B team’ of Imran Khan and shun the path of their deceased leader, it would be negation of Benazir Bhutto’s thoughts. “If they are joining those who have been abusing their leaders, they will regret before their leader on the Day of Judgement.”

The minister said the PML-N had fulfilled its promise of supporting
democracy by letting the PPP government to complete its tenure and now the PPP leadership was following Imran Khan. “What can be said if they (PPP leadership) have decided so.”

On operation Zarb-e-Azb, Pervaiz Rashid said just imagine what would
have been the situation in the country, had this operation not been
started. At that time, every Pakistani was being terrorized, investors
were afraid and local industrialists were leaving the country. “Now we
are seeing a ray of hope, economy is reviving and the country is setting on strong economic footing.”

He said no country, even the United States, Germany, France and others could claim 100 per cent security. “So we can also say that we have achieved desired results from the operation and the situation is far better than 2013. We foresee a peaceful Pakistan – a country on road to prosperity with uninterrupted power supply, strong economy and more jobs by the end of 2017.”

He said now the world nations had started accepting that Pakistan
would be among top ten emerging economies in coming years.

He said some defeated minds might have a desire to derail democracy
but it could be only their desire because presently all institutions believed in strong democracy. “It is our collective duty to move forward
as a peace and development loving country and it is a key for our survival and strength.”

On a question about load-shedding, the minister said for the first
time in the country’s history “we are producing electricity at a large
scale and duration of load-shedding has reduced. We shall be self-sufficient in power by end of 2017 when uninterrupted and cheaper power will be available for industry, agriculture and consumers. Then industry will flourish and farmers will produce more crops; cost of production will decline and our products will better compete in international markets.”

Answering a question about law and order situation in Karachi, the
minister said the situation in the mega city was far better than the past except recent two incidents that reflected defeated mindset. “These incidents gave us a message to deal with the remnants, who are trying to prove their presence, with an iron hand. So, we shall hunt them down and bring to justice.”

The minister urged collective efforts to defeat this mindset and
said,”Days are not far off when Karachi and we will achieve the
destination of a peaceful, prosperous and a welfare state.”