ISLAMABAD - Accepting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s key demand for the audit of 2013 general elections through an apex court commission, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif once again asked political players to come to talks and the government would address all their genuine concerns, remaining within the Constitution.

In his address to the nation on Tuesday night, Premier Sharif questioned the rationale behind holding of protests and rallies and made it loud and clear that the government would not let a bunch of people take the country hostage and would uphold the sanctity of democratic and constitutional stature of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The prime minister said that all the reformations and revamping of the system would be done through the Parliament for which their doors were open to all the political forces. The government would candidly listen to their point of view and all their proposals for reforming the system, remaining within the parameters of the Constitution, he added.

Nawaz further said the Parliament was a representative body of 180 million people of Pakistan and it would not be acceptable that decisions be made on streets instead of this august forum.

Premier Sharif said the 2013 general elections were considered as the fairest polls in the country’s history. International media and foreign observers had termed the elections transparent, but to allay the concerns of certain elements his government had decided to write to the chief justice of Pakistan to constitute a three-member commission, comprising the sitting judges of the apex court, to conduct a complete audit of 2013 general elections to settle the issue once and for all, the PM added.

The prime minister dismissed the allegations of rigging in the elections in which the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had won a heavy mandate.

The prime minister said the allegations without any solid proof were challenging the democratic system and an atmosphere of uncertainty was being created. “Pakistan’s reputation, national economy and political stability are being put at stake,” he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “I have an agenda of national prosperity and I do not want chaos and anarchy to have any negative impact on the way to its implementation.”

“Is there any justification for any protest after this (decision to form SC commission)? I leave the answer to you (the people),” he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the mandate given by the people of Pakistan to his party could not be hijacked. “We believe in democracy. Peaceful protest is the right of everyone, but I wish to make it clear that Pakistan is a state with its Constitution, law and democracy.”

“We, with the support of 180 million people of Pakistan, will not let anyone harm the constitutional, democratic character of the country. No one will be allowed to spread anarchy, to challenge the Constitution, hold the state system hostage, openly preach terrorism and incite the people to violence in the garb of religion,” the prime minister categorically stated.

He reiterated a nation that was fighting a decisive battle against extremism and terrorism would not allow anarchy, chaos and civil war under any form.

“No disruptive elements would be given the right to sabotage the ongoing projects, worth billions of dollars, of energy, infrastructure and national development to be ravaged and push the country back to an era of poverty and deprivation,” he said.

“We will not allow Pakistan to become a jungle where the law of ‘might is right’ holds vogue. “We will not let a handful of elements hold the mandate of millions of people of Pakistan hostage,” said the prime minister.

The prime minister said, “We have started journey to economic progress, prosperity, socio-economic development and peace, but some elements are out with negative and hollow slogans to protest without any reason.”

Nawaz Sharif said the nation of 180 million people has the right to ask these elements the purpose of their long marches and sit-ins; these elements should tell the people what the motive behind their politics of agitation was.

He said these elements should tell at least one solid reason for the protest. He said these elements should also tell why they are out to push back the country towards poverty, backwardness and terrorism.

He said history bears testimony to the fact that the developed nations achieved their goals because of political stability and continuation of policies.

He regretted that Pakistan remained victim of political instability and “we had to pay a heavy price for that”. The prime minister said it was time to ponder as to why the country was not coming out of trap of poverty and backwardness.

The prime minister pointed out that the country was on the path of democracy, all state institutions were working in accordance with the Constitution, elected parliament was functional, judiciary was firmly backing democracy and the Constitution, and for the first time transfer of power took place from one elected government to the other last year.

Praising free media’s role in the struggle for the supremacy of law and Constitution, Prime Minister Sharif asked the media organisations to judge for themselves their role in the current crisis in the country and hoped that they would continue their positive and constructive role in the march of the country to road to progress and prosperity.

Mian Nawaz Sharif said the mandate given by the people in the general elections was accepted at every level. “We set new democratic traditions and a new culture by accepting mandate of others in KP and Balochistan,” he asserted.

He said the government had initiated new mega projects. He said it had signed agreements to generate 10,400MW electricity, besides launching work on Dasu Dam. He added the government was going to start work on Karachi-Lahore motorway and Rs 55 billion has been released for procurement of land for this project.

Without naming PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PTI chief Imran Khan who had called him a monarch, Premier Sharif said the country got rid of monarchy 68 years ago. He said now the country is being run under the Constitution and sovereignty rests with Allah Almighty, while the people of Pakistan are exercising this power through the Parliament as His deputy.