ISLAMABAD  - Federal Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Thursday that general elections would be held on time and early elections could not be held to fulfil the desires a single party.

“There is a proper mechanism to hold general elections and the government cannot go for early polls on the aspirations of any political party,” she told the media after the launch of a website. The website will contain different material about Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

The minister said 2013 would be the election year. It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to hold elections that has already stated that voter lists has not been completed so far, she added. To a question, she dispelled the impression that there is any confrontation among the institutions, saying: “There is union among the state organs.”

The minister said the Supreme Court has constituted a commission on the memo issue and let the panel probe.

The government has always worked for strengthening democratic institutions of the country. “We have built institutions and will safeguard them,” she added. The minister said the government respected the judiciary and its decisions. “We have a lot of respect for judiciary and other institutions as we fought for their rights.”

Earlier, the minister said the launch of the website at Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) is coinciding with the 84th birth anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.  She termed the PBC “mother of all media” and expressed confidence that it will be further strengthened and empowered to make it a viable and vibrant tool.  Firdous said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto made Radio Pakistan an autonomous body and gave it constitutional protection through the PBC Act 1973.

“Benazir Bhutto patronised the organization and the government would continue with her vision. We will not leave the organization alone.”

Appreciating the role of Radio Pakistan in communication and information sectors, she said its identity and significance would be kept intact.

The minister said the proposals furnished by the director general of Radio Pakistan would be implemented to make it a profitable and self-sufficient organisation with the cooperation and help of its employees.

She said work on a 100-kilowatt medium wave transmitter of Radio Pakistan, a gift for Balochs, has been completed and it will soon be inaugurated in Turbat.

She said Radio Pakistan through its 64 channels is covering 96 per cent area and providing latest information and education to the people of far flung rural areas.

Radio Pakistan is the voice of the country as other private sector Radio channels are restricted to only one or few districts or a specific community, she said.  The minister assured that development projects of both Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television would be given priority.

On the occasion, the minister said that services of 661 contractual employees of Radio Pakistan would be regularised soon.  She said the housing scheme for the Radio employees would soon be implemented and President Asif Ali Zardari would lay its foundation stone. It will be a gift of New Year for PBC employees. She announced reduction in eligibility period of house hiring facility for PBC employees from five years to two years of service in the corporation.

Firdous said the employees will also be given 15 percent raise in the salaries soon.

She said Radio Pakistan has the distinction of declaring the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947 and now it has again taken the lead by introducing social media for dissemination of information to the people.

The up-gradation of the website is the continuity of that process to meet the changing trends in communication and information, the minister said.

Paying tributes to ZAB, she said he had practised politics on issues by rejecting negative trends.  “Our critics should also follow the suit of the ZAB for political stability in the country and strengthening democratic institutions,” she added.

She said under the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP is promoting the political culture of reconciliation despite criticism by the opponents.

The minister said all the political parties have been provided an environment conducive to hold rallies and public meetings.

She said keeping in view the challenges faced by the country, the role of the media has become very important and urged its responsible contribution.

Pakistan cannot progress economically without ensuring participation of women as well as youth in all walks of life, she said.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haq said Radio Pakistan was an important medium in view its wide coverage.

He said Radio Pakistan is serving the purpose of educating the people through its different programmes and expressed the confidence that all relevant information relating to Pakistan will be put on its website for the knowledge of the people.

He said the Planning Commission has prepared a new growth strategy focusing on connectivity. The media should give space to the youth programmes as they are the future of our country.

Radio Pakistan Director General Murtaza Solangi said it is the fourth up-gradation of the bilingual website during the last three and half years.

He said Radio Pakistan is the oldest medium in the country and despite the financial constraints has the latest tools including social media to disseminate information.

He said the upgraded website has been prepared indigenously by our own IT experts without any external consultancy.

He said soon we will develop and launch an application for Blackberry and I-phone users to enable them to access Radio Pakistan.

He said Radio Pakistan’s Youtube channel and Twitter account are very popular among the people.  The information minister gave away certificates to web designer and web developer for developing an upgraded version of the website.