ZAFAR MALIK

SIALKOT - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said the government was committed to weeding out terrorism from the country as the whole nation was united, ready to sacrifice even their lives and stood shoulder to shoulder with the armed forces of the country.

He stated this while addressing participants of the PML-N workers’ convention held at the residence of Federal Water and Power Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif at Sialkot Cantt. He vowed to eradicate gun culture from the country, saying the time was ripe to curb the menace to safeguard the masses and the coming generations.

The prime minister said operation Zarb-e-Azb had broken back of terrorists and was going on successfully. Sharif added the government was committed to weeding out terrorism from the country. “We have successfully destroyed all the hideouts and networks of terrorists in the country, besides breaking their backbone,” the PM asserted. He said the government had taken very bold step by launching ant-terror operation.

Sharif said the government there would be no compromise over peace in Karachi. He categorically stated that the operation in the port city would be taken to its logical conclusion.

He said the government would not rest until eradication of the gun culture from the country. He added it was the government’s responsibility to make the port city as well as the rest of the country peaceful.

Sharif regretted some sectarian organisations wanted to spread religious and sectarian hatred in the country, saying antisocial elements attacking worship places of other religions were the enemies of peace and the country.

The prime minister made it loud and clear that there was no room in Pakistan for those intending to spread religious and sectarian violence. “Islam teaches us lessons of peace, love, tolerance and respect of all the religions,” he added.

Sharif made it clear that the Karachi operation was totally against criminals. The PM said the operation was not against any party.

He reiterated the Karachi operation was giving positive and encouraging results and there was a visible decline in kidnapping, target killings and money extortion incidents in the city. He said the operation would succeed with the active cooperation of the people.

Sharif said the nation had given PML-N mandate to overcome power loadshedding, end terrorism and boost the economy. He said most of the burning problems of the country were being solved amicably, adding the government would not disappoint the nation in this regard.

Sharif pledged to make Sialkot an international city and announced to make all-out efforts for its socio-economic and human development on top priority on account of its global industrial significance.

Sharif announced to construct Sialkot-Lahore expressway and establish an engineering and technology university in Sialkot.

Earlier, addressing an important meeting of business community held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Sharif announced the energy crisis would end in 2017 as Pakistan was importing 4,000 megawatts electricity from China to end darkness in the country.

The PM vowed to continue the PML-N government’s agenda of economic development by taking the business community into confidence. He said Pakistan’s economic indicators were getting better day by day.

He claimed the government’s effective and positive economic policies were restoring confidence of national and foreign investors, adding these policies were bearing fruit and the national economy was moving ahead to achieve the goal of economic stability. Sharif linked the economic prosperity with political stability and continuity of export development policies in the country. He underlined the need for development of human resources for continuous economic growth as well.

He said the PML-N government had successfully halted the economic decline by injecting fresh blood into the sick economy of Pakistan through the restoration of confidence of the national and foreign investors.

Sharif termed Sialkot an engine for boosting the national economy. He highly hailed the unique export culture of the city. Investment in the area would be encouraged to further enhance exports, he added.

The PM said the government was fully aware of the problems of the business community and making all-out efforts to solve them amicably. He asserted that peace in Karachi would lead to promotion of business activities in Pakistan.

He lauded the role of Pakistan Army and said it had broken back of terrorists. He said the army jawans had given tremendous sacrifices for the security and integrity of the motherland. He was confident that the sacrifices of the troops and people of Waziristan would not go waste.

He said the country’s foreign reserves had improved while international financial institutions were also recognising Pakistan’s improved economic indicators. Sharif said the government had reduced bank borrowing in order to give space to the business community. “We have lowered interest rate and there will be a further cut in it to promote economic activities in the country,” the prime minister asserted.

He told the business community that the government would reduce power tariff . “For this purpose, we are exploiting inexpensive sources of energy generation, including coal and LNG. Similarly, we want to end gas shortage and reduce its price,” the prime minister said.

“Progress has always been made in democratic eras. In dictatorships, the country was pushed backward,” the premier said, in reference to former president Gen Pervez Musharraf’s military rule.

He also held a question-answer session with traders and businessmen and addressed their concerns. He said the whole country would benefit from investment in Sialkot. Defence and Water & Power Khawaja Minister Muhammad Asif, MNAs Sahibzada Syed Iftikharul Hassan Shah, Zahid Hamid, Rana Shamim Ahmed and Ch Armughan Subhani, local MPAs and representatives of trade bodies were also present on this occasion.