Caretaker Prime Minister Justice ® Nasirul Mulk is repeatedly reiterating his commitment and priority to the holding of free, fair, transparent general elections in a peaceful and conducive environment on schedule on July 25, 2018, ever since he has assumed the high office of greater responsibility.

It is good to note that the caretaker Prime Minister’s commitment and top priority to the holding of free, fair and transparent polls are also being endorsed internationally by leaders of foreign countries.

According to the reports in the newspapers, United States Vice-President Mike Pence telephoned the caretaker Prime Minister on Thursday and duly endorsed caretaker government ‘s mandate to hold free and fair elections in the country.

The US Vice-President congratulated the caretaker PM on assuming the office, appreciated his illustrious career as a jurist and wished him well for the effective implementation of the caretaker government’s mandate to hold free and fair elections in the country and also conveyed best wishes on behalf of US President Donald Trump.

During first high-level contact between US and Pakistan after induction of a caretaker government, caretaker PM and the US Vice-President also exchanged views on matters of mutual interest and agreed upon the importance of strengthening of bilateral relations as well as pursuing the common objective of achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan.

In response, Justice ® Nasirul Mulk thanked the US Vice-President for his congratulatory telephonic call and said the caretaker government is committed to assisting the Election Commission of Pakistan in holding of polls and the smooth transition of power to the elected government under the provisions of the Constitution.

Reports also said that newly appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa also held a telephonic conversation around the same time and discussed the process of political reconciliation in Afghanistan and other issues. These developments indeed augur well for improvement of bilateral relations between Washington and Islamabad.

MUHAMMAD MURTAZA ZEESHAN,

Lahore, June 18.