ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday said that the general election would not be conducted by the caretaker government but by the ‘alien force’.
Speaking to the journalists here at a farewell dinner hosted by National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the premier said the caretaker government had ‘unnecessarily’ become an issue.
“The discussion on caretaker set-up (between the government and the opposition) has been completed. We will pay heed to the inputs of (opposition leader) Khurshid Shah. The elections will be held within 60 days (after the government has completed its terms (on May 30). If Khurshid Shah gives a name now, I will oblige. The caretakers will not conduct the elections, it will be alien force,” he said, citing the narrative of his predecessor Nawaz Sharif.
He said there was no option of holding elections within 90 days when a government has completed its term. “The caretaker PM can be a retired judge or bureaucrat. The elections are expected to be fair and free,” he added.
PM Abbasi said Nawaz Sharif cannot be ousted from politics. “He was relevant, is relevant and will remain relevant. He cannot be removed from the political scene,” the premier asserted.
He apologised to the journalists for torture by the authorities during a demonstration in Islamabad. “Every day is the press freedom day in Pakistan. I am sorry for whatever happened today,” he maintained.
Separately, addressing the ‘Emerging Pakistan’ ceremony here yesterday, PM Abbasi said Pakistan was now emerging as an attractive destination for foreign investors after overcoming multiple challenges.
He said the country is not only achieving growth, but also facilitating connectivity to the region. He said our ambition is to provide Central Asia, Afghanistan, Western China and the broader region the most efficient access to sea and world markets. Abbasi said terrorism, economic challenges and regional issues had been successfully dealt with by taking them head on.
He said Emerging Pakistan was a vision to develop “our exports and bring the name of Pakistan on world map as a leading exporter.”
He said due to pragmatic economic policies of the government, “our exports are on rebound with double digit growth, economy growing by six per cent, and highest Foreign Direct Investment in a decade.”
The Prime Minister said China Pakistan Economic Corridor was providing much-needed infrastructure to the country and shortage of power, gas and other commodities are now things of the past.
He said for the first time there had been a massive income tax reforms in Pakistan which will allow entrepreneurs, investors and businesses to come forward to increase production and create more jobs.
He said it was a great honour and privilege that Pakistan will be supplying Telstar 18 football for the FIFA World Cup 2018, as it did in World Cup 2014. Abbasi said this product will give a positive image of Pakistan to the world.
Meanwhile, Chief of the General Staff of the Republic of Turkey, General Hulusi Akar called on Prime Minister Abbasi yesterday.
General Akar conveyed the greetings of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Prime Minister and expressed satisfaction at the high level contacts between the two countries.
Abbasi said the two countries supported each other within all international and regional organizations on issues of mutual interest.
He said that there was a need to further increase cooperation at the defence level with focus on increasing contacts, training and joint exercises.
The Prime Minister, while reciprocating the greetings of the Turkish leadership stated that the governments and people of Pakistan and Turkey enjoyed exemplary fraternal relations.
He expressed satisfaction over bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries. He also briefed the Turkish Chief of the General Staff on Pakistan’s successful counter-terrorism efforts.
Both sides, reiterating the close and cordial ties between Pakistan and Turkey, emphasised the need to further enhance and strengthen their relations.
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