LAHORE - Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif will be the PML-N candidate for the prime minister’s office after the next elections and he will serve the country as dedicatedly and devotionally as he did in Punjab that today stands above all others in terms of development and facilities to the masses.

Talking to mediamen here yesterday, Ahsan Iqbal said Shehbaz Sharif is the consensus candidate for the PM office and no two opinions existed in the party on this count. He described Shehbaz Sharif as the most suitable person to take the country ahead economically and in every other area.

He also told media that the country had hit the target of up to 6.5 percent GDP growth if there would have not been any ‘Panama drama.’

He also shed light on the PML-N government achievements towards ending loadshedding, terrorism and bringing peace to Karachi where he said the businessmen were leaving the country due to law and order situation.

The PML-N government controlled the situation and restored not only confidence of the business community but also attracted foreign investment, he added.

APP adds: Ahsan Iqbal ruled out holding of general elections before completion of constitutional term of the incumbent assemblies.

Responding to journalists' queries after inaugurating the first-ever Nadra Facilitation Desk for the business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he said the Senate elections would also be held on time.

The minister said that general elections could not be held before July 2018, as the new voter lists and new delimitation of electoral constituencies were yet to be completed. The elements spreading rumours about early holding of general elections were, in fact, conspiring against democracy in the country. All such claims were aimed at formation of a long-time caretaker government in the country, he added.

However, these elements would face sheer disappointment in the next general elections as the people would support the agenda of economic development, he said, adding that there was dire need to get ready for economic revival instead of indulging in sit-ins and negative politics.

To another question, he said that 'on-arrival visa policy' had existed even before 2013, but it was not clear earlier. However, the incumbent government had ensured transparency in its implementation. The business community and tourists at large would be facilitated under this policy, he said and made it clear that security matters in this regard would not be compromised at any cost.