ISLAMABAD - President-elect Mamnoon Hussain on Friday vowed to play a non-partisan role after assuming the office of the President of Pakistan, besides striving to ensure harmony among the country’s vital national institutions as well as the federating units. “There will only be discussion on national politics in the Presidency and not of any particular party. I will try my best to ensure the impartial stature of the President,” the President-elect said in an interview with a private television channel aired on Friday night.

During the interview, President-elect Mamnoon Hussain spoke on a host of issues including the challenges faced by the country such as energy crisis, terrorism, law and order and foreign policy issues, besides his personal life.

Regarding the law and order situation in the country,he mentioned the observation of the Supreme Court that political parties had militant wings that needed to end. He was confident that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan would come up with a comprehensive policy to tackle law and order issues through enhanced coordination and information sharing among the intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

President-elect Mamnoon Hussain said the criminals can be discouraged only if they are sentenced for their offences, what he observed was possible by bringing the law-enforcement and intelligence agencies on the same page.

He lauded the pro-active role of judiciary that had been keeping an eye on human rights and violation of rules and that the Supreme Court and high courts also took suo motu notices to rectify the wrongs.

However, Mamnoon Hussain observed that the country lacked the mechanism for witness protection that was why the criminals could not be sentenced in high profile cases because the witnesses usually refuse to record testimony or backtrack fearing to be killed. He said the matter was raised in party meetings and hopefully necessary legislation would be made in this regard. He said within one and a half months of new government, the power production had been increased to 17,000 megawatts that was between 11,000 to 12,000 MW in the past.

About the law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said the importance of peace dialogue could never be undermined and that doors to dialogue should always remain open. However, Mamnoon Hussain supported the use of force against the militants neither willing to be part of dialogue nor accepting the government’s writ.

The President-elect opined that in drone attacks the innocent civilians were killed more than the militants that causes sense of revenge among the victim families. Resultantly, the suicide bombers are created poised to avenge the killings of their loved ones, he viewed. He urged the US authorities to trust Pakistan’s government and share intelligence information on terrorists instead of taking unilateral action.

Mamnoon Hussain was of the view that national sovereignty can be better protected by strengthening the country politically as well as economically. He stressed the creation of a think tank to guide the government on national security and foreign policy issues. To a question about his family background, Mamnoon Hussain said he came from a business family of Agra (India) with his father running a shoe-making factory, who later shifted his business to Pakistan in 1949. Later, his family went into the textile sector, he said and ,added, that all of hid three sons preferred to join the banking sector.

Mamnoon Hussain said Pakistan wanted to establish friendly ties with India,  He recalled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s previous tenure when the latter brought alongwith him his Indian counterpart to Pakistan through a bus and also took him to Minar-e-Pakistan. Besides, India, he said the present government wanted cordial ties with all neighbouring and regional states like China, Iran, Afghanistan, Gulf and even Nepal and Bhutan, adding, that he also endorsed the same policy.

He said with the passage of time, the Army has also changed its mindset towards democracy realising the fact that Pervez Musharraf’s policies had undermined their image as an institution. To a question, the President-elect hoped that the appointment of next Chief of Army Staff and Chief Justice of Pakistan would be made according to the set criteria.

He said the new Chairman National Accountability Bureau will be appointed after consultation with the Opposition leader who would handle the corruption cases effectively to help reduce the burden from courts. Mamnoon Hussain hoped that the government would establish an institution to formulate the policy guidelines for the government on national security issues as such thinking existed in the incumbent government.

He said promotion of education was his ambition and while holding the office of the President, he would try to create harmony among provincial and Federal Education Ministries so that they can deliver better in education sector.