Govt to act per ECP’s decision on holding polls: PM

​ISLAMABAD, Mar 15 : Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said the federal government was committed to fulfill its constitutional obligation of holding election and would act as per the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

“No one should have a doubt on us regarding evading the elections. We will whole-heartedly participate in election and will follow whatever decided by ECP,” he told a delegation of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) here at the PM House.

Shehbaz Sharif said it was up to the ECP to decide over the matter, however, as president of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), he had directed his party to finalize names of ticket-holders.

He said the government was cognizant of the fact that timely election led to a stronger State and its progress.

In the same context, he mentioned that the government had initiated work on census and the funds had been released despite financial constraints.

The prime minister said the country was passing through political and economic challenges, however said that all political parties of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) coalition contributed positively towards improvement in situation.

During 11 months of the tenure, he said, the government successfully overcame the shadows of default.

He regretted that the previous government stepped back from the agreement inked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He said it was not a private but a State deal, and the non-implementation of which resulted in big loss of the country.

He expressed confidence that a staff-level agreement with the IMF would be struck soon.

He dismissed the impression that IMF talked about political instability in the country.

Shehbaz Sharif recalled that friendly countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and China extended support to Pakistan in trying times.

To control inflation, he said the government was committed to ensuring austerity and providing relief to poor especially during Ramazan.

The prime minister pointed out the “naked defiance” of former prime minister Imran Khan and making fun of the State institutions by his no-show in courts.

“First time in Pakistan, a so-called political person is considering himself above law … Non-appearance in courts is tantamount to violation of law,” he said.

He recalled that Imran Khan used to hit at politicians with unlawful tactics and was now trying to defy the rule of law.

He mentioned that PML-N leaders including himself, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah were dragged in fake cases by the previous government, but still appeared before the courts.

Also, senior journalists including Absar Alam and Matiullah Jan were manhandled during Imran Khan’s tenure.

“The government is not taking action on its own, but on the court order,” he said in reference to yesterday’s movement of police with regard to Imran Khan’s arrest warrants.

On Toshakhana case, he said Imran Khan who called himself an ‘honest person’ was in fact a liar, who even sold a wrist watch with model of Holy Ka’aba.

He mentioned the change of Toshakhana policy by his cabinet wherein only the gifts up to $300 could be retained on payment of requisite amount.

The prime minister termed CPNE an important link between the government and the masses. He apprised the news editors of the effective steps taken by the government in areas of economy.

Asked if the government was ready to hold talks with Imran Khan, he said though the politicians always resorted to dialogue, however, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had a history of not responding positively in this regard.

He said the PTI even did not join the apex committee meeting chaired by him in Peshawar on the recent mosque blast.

The meeting held in-depth discussion on the overall situation in the country in areas of politics, economy, foreign affairs and security.

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