General elections to be held on time: PM Abbasi

ISLAMABAD (Sarzameen News)- Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the government will complete its term and elections will then take place within sixty days.

In an interview with a private news channel, he said he does not see any obstacle that could prevent general elections 2018 from taking place on time.

In response to a question, the premier said he does not see any obstacle that could prevent general elections 2018 from taking place on time.

When I become Prime Minister on August 1 last year, they said the government would not last three months; then they said it would not go beyond December 31; then said the Senate elections will not take place.

But all that happened, Abbasi said, adding that the government will complete its term and the elections will then take place within 60 days.

Abbasi said he had commenced talks with Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah about the caretaker prime minister but a name had yet to be proposed by either side.

Talking about the upcoming election for the Senate chairman, the Prime Minister said PML-N desires that the leader of the upper house should be elected with consensus. He said the Senate and national politics of the country have suffered immense losses” in this month’s Senate elections because of horse-trading, which he claimed was very apparent.

In response to a question, the Prime Minister said it is a requisite of justice that courts not only deliver justice, but justice must also be seen to be done.  He said Pakistan has witnessed rapid economic growth during the last five years and there is no need to go to IMF for any assistance.

Abbasi said he and ‘everyone else’ is questioning today whether the biggest criminal of the country was Nawaz Sharif, whether so many references were ever filed against anyone else and whether anyone was disqualified on such ‘flimsy grounds’. The answers to these questions will become apparent tomorrow, if not today, he said.

People ask ‘if the former prime minister of a country cannot get justice from courts, then who will’?” he complained, but added that the government will implement court orders if Sharif is sent to prison.

To a question about Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, son of prominent businessman Jahangir Siddiqui, as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, PM Abbasi said he had chosen a person who was suitable for the assignment.

The current situation in the US is unique and difficult to handle for traditional diplomacy, Abbasi said, adding that they had nominated Siddiqui after a two-month review because he is “educated and possesses world and political experience.

You will now see a new colour of political diplomacy there [US] that will go in Pakistan’s favour, he said.

Rubbishing allegations of nepotism, Abbasi said Siddiqui was a person who could serve well in the unique political scenario prevailing in the US.

Asked as to why the government had not placed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on the ECL, he said it was the government’s discretion and believed that being the leader of the biggest political party, Nawaz Sharif would never leave the country. He said Nawaz Sharif was disqualified on weak grounds and his cases had been made time bound. His cases were being heard thrice a week, he added.

Regarding Pakistan’s possible placement on the FATF’s grey list in June, the prime minister said a lobby had worked against the country, but despite not being member of the body, it presented its viewpoint and steps very clearly. The country’s position had been clearly explained to the world, he added.

Regarding the registration of Milli Muslim League backed by Hafiz Saeed Ahmed, he said the Election Commission of Pakistan would decide the matter and the government would review it if the court had ordered so.

To a question about the fate of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, he said no one was ready to fund the project as Iran was not allowed to export gas. Moreover, the financiers were reluctant to support as the funding was not protected under certain laws.

He called for an end to Indian atrocities in the occupied Kashmir and said Pakistan had been urging the world to pressure India to resolve the dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council’s resolutions.

He said Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan as any lawlessness in that country directly impacted it. The Afghans must sit together to resolve their issues themselves, he added.

To another query, Abbasi said the improvement of Pakistan’s economy was being acknowledged worldwide as many of the challenges had been handled and the rest were being addressed.

About PIA’s privatization and restructuring, he said the entity had incurred Rs 45 billion loss last year, which could not go for long.

He openly offered to the opposition parties criticizing the process, to take over the PIA even without any money but they should prove by reviving it.

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