ISLAMABAD - Reiterating his pledge to facilitate free, fair and transparent elections on May 11, Caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Friday urged the countrymen to exercise their right to vote and elect a government to take care of the problems facing the country both internally and externally and accelerate the pace of development in the country.

Addressing the nation on the national media, the caretaker prime minister announced the reign of the government would be transferred to the elected representatives of the people by the caretaker government without any delay. “We will not accept extension in the tenure of the caretaker government at any cost and under no circumstances,” he made it loud and clear.

“I want to assure you of holding free, fair, transparent, impartial and peaceful elections on May 11. This is the mandate of the caretaker government and the Election Commission of Pakistan. The caretaker government would take all necessary steps to achieve this objective,” he added.

Premier Khoso further announced there would be no loadshedding in the country for 36 hours from the evening of May 10 for smooth conduct of the elections and also announced certain measures the caretaker government would be taking for maintenance of order on the election day.

“The government has prepared plans for deployment of the army and quick action force to meet any eventuality during the elections, which will respond immediately when required,” he said and added a special cell had been set up in the Interior Ministry which would collect intelligence reports and share it with the provincial governments and law-enforcing agencies. “This cell is also empowered to take decisions for timely action if needed, he asserted. All resources will be used to improve security of the sensitive polling stations and their effective monitoring,” he further said.

Khoso was all praise to the political parties, the contesting candidates for taking part in the elections remaining within the parameters defined by Election Commission of Pakistan and realising the significance of these polls as the country was facing internal and external challenges and only an elected government could solve the multiple problems.

Mir Hazar Khan Khoso said, “It is right of every Pakistani to express his opinion by exercising right to vote. It will be endeavour of the government that a voter is able to cast vote according to his choice and freedom. He said: “We will ensure that sanctity of the vote is maintained.”

The prime minister said he had issued instructions to all government departments and officials to remain impartial. He said maintaining peace and security was an important priority of the caretaker government. “We will not allow anyone to disturb peace and play with lives of the people or destroy peace. It is unfortunate that there have been acts of terrorism in Balochistan‚ KPK and Karachi and innocent people were martyred,” he said. He strongly condemned terrorist attacks and said all measures were being taken to control terrorism.

The prime minister pointed out that although maintaining law and order falls under the domain of the provincial governments‚ he is in constant touch with all the caretaker chief ministers and the law-enforcing agencies so that electoral process could be conducted peacefully.

The prime minister said, “The elections are a few days away when the people will elect their representatives under the supervision of the Election Commission,” and added he was convinced that the independent and impartial Election Commission was capable of meeting all challenges during the electoral process.

The PM said the federal and provincial governments were extending all-out support to the Election Commission of Pakistan to complete the electoral process in an amiable manner. The prime minister said the general elections carried extraordinary importance in view of the internal and external challenges facing the country and said only an elected government could address these problems. He urged the political parties‚ leaders, ulema‚ the people and media to play their role in fulfilling this responsibility. He urged the people to cast their votes on the election day.

Mir Hazar Khan Khoso said that appointment of the caretaker prime minister from Balochistan would have a far-reaching impact and hoped it would help address sense of deprivation of the province, besides promoting the national solidarity.

The prime minister said he visited Balochistan recently and expressed satisfaction that all political parties of the province were fully participating in the electoral process. He said during his visit to Karachi‚ he chaired a high-level meeting to discuss ways and means to conduct elections in the province, especially in Karachi in a peaceful environment.

The prime minister said he was not oblivious to the problems of the people, including outbreak of measles. He said power loadshedding was the result of gap between demand and supply of electricity. He said the Ministry of Finance had been instructed to release Rs 45 billion to ensure supply of fuel to power plants and increase power generation.

The prime minister said he had asked the Ministry of Finance to prepare the next budget on realistic basis, bringing down the unnecessary expenditure‚ promoting austerity‚ preventing wastage of national resources and making good use of available resources. He said the budget should not put unnecessary burden on the common man.

The prime minister expressed the confidence that the caretaker government would leave behind a better economy for the next government through financial discipline and administrative measures.