Sit-ins conspiracy against fair polls: Ahsan

ISLAMABAD – Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Wednesday lashing out at his political opponents said that sit-in politics created political and economical instability in the country and was a conspiracy against holding of free, fair and transparent general elections.

Talking to reporters after attending the 33rd Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE), he called upon all political forces for working together to put the country on track of economic development and social prosperity.

He said that only five months were left in general elections and at this stage some elements were trying to sabotage the whole process of holding election in a peaceful, free, fair and transparent manner. He further said that the conspirators were also trying to create an uneven situation for the Senate election.

He said that the opposition has been constantly abusing the government, and that multiple entities were being formed against the ruling PML-N as well. Those busy in forming opposition alliances should wait until the government’s tenure is over, he said.

Ahsan Iqbal said that any prolonging interim setup would affect the credibility of next election, adding all the political parties should strive for ensuring election on time for the transfer of powers to next elected government second time as according to the law and constitution of the country.

Timely holding of election in a free, fair and transparent manner and transfer of power to next elected government would give a positive message to world and would restore the confidence.

Replying to a question, he said that decision to place name of former finance minister Ishaq Dar on the Exit Control List (ECL) was being legally reviewed by the government.  “Law is above everyone,” he said. At the same time, he appreciated services of Dar and said that instead of humiliating him, his services for the country should be recognised. “The whole world appreciates his work and contribution,” Ahsan said.

The minister also said that since 1990s, the successive governments had been collapsing after every two years. He gave example of India saying it embarked on a journey to success and progress by adopting Pakistan’s policies.

He also stated that the government would not let ruin peace of Karachi and those who ruined peace in the metropolitan city will be punished. He said that Hammad Siddiqui, an accused in Baldia Town factory fire incident would be bought back to Pakistan after fulfilling all legal requirements necessary for exchange of offenders.

Responding to a question, the minister said the aim of delaying the FATA reforms bill was to create complete consensus among all stakeholders by bringing all the political parties on board and bringing complete agreement among them on the reforms. Besides this, he said the government was also working to provide similar rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltitistan as other areas of the country.

The minister said that fluctuation in dollar value in local market was due to increasing trend of petroleum prices and some adjustments made in the market. He, however, he said that it would improve during the days to come, adding that the fluctuation would benefit the local exporters.

Earlier addressing the annual meeting and the conference of PSDE, the interior minister said that political stability, continuity of economic policies and quality of human resources were the prerequisite for socio-economic uplift of the country.

He said that right indigenous economic policies were vital in current time complex global economic situation, where it was going under the paradigm shift and business models were passing through age of digitalisation.

He said that the development models of the different countries, which were discussed in TV talk shows every day, had taken 20-40 years for their replication and these were implemented due to consistency, continuity and stability in the economic reforms agenda of governments of the respective countries.

The minister said that new economy was the mind economy and knowledge was the key driver for the every sector of the economy including agriculture, industry, communications and services sectors, adding that adoption of modern and innovative  technology was important to produce low cost and competitive produces to compete in the international markets.

He stressed the need for linking the industrial development with global industrial platform and creating attractive opportunities to attract the foreign investment by using the modern information and communication means for the development of the country. Highlighting the economic performance of the government, he said when this government came in power in 2013, the people have to face electricity outage for 18-20 hours per day, which had badly affected the agriculture and industrial sectors of the country.

Besides, the infrastructure was the second bottleneck in the economic development as the railways and road network were badly affected and creating problems for logistics, he added.

He said that under such circumstances the government had initiated its journey and introduced Vision 2025, focusing on every aspect of the socio-economic development of the country, which faced huge criticism from opponents.

He said that due to continued efforts and struggle of the government the economic situation of the country improved and over 50 percent feeders had zero load shedding, where as the industrial sector was being provided un-interrupted power supply across the country.

Besides, the government was also working on mega energy sector projects and on the construction of water reservoirs to fulfil the future requirements of the country, adding that it had made huge investments in infrastructure development projects to connect the less developed areas with the developed ones.

The minister said that the security situation of the country also turned around and confidence of international investors was restored, where as different infrastructure and energy development projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project were heading towards completion.


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