Military regimes blocked national progress: Nawaz

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LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has said that repeated military regimes in the country created hurdles in the way of the nation’s development.
Talking to a delegation of South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) at his Raiwind residence on Monday, Nawaz said had the democratic government not been toppled by a dictator in 1999, the country would not have been facing terrorism, unemployment and inflation.
Nawaz said democracy was the solution to all the problems and it could also help eliminate the menace of terrorism. He said the country needed a strengthened democracy and democratic institutions that believed in serving the masses. “National unity lies in the drafting of Mesaaq-e-Pakistan,” he said.
Nawaz expressed his intent to take on board all parties and stakeholders, including religious leaders, the media, intellectuals and the civil society, to devise a strategy focused on establishing civilian supremacy in the country through the strengthening of parliament and democratic institutions.
The PML-N chief said his earlier announced timeline of a 25-year charter could be shortened to around 10 years. Nawaz said he would also write the president and the prime minister to take them into confidence over the issue. He said that he would also ask the two leaders to make efforts to improve the country’s volatile relations with neighbouring India through economic-driven policies, in a way similar to China resolving its differences with Taiwan.
Commenting on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks that Pakistan should tax its rich to raise revenue instead of asking for aid, Nawaz said he agreed with the proposal and it would not matter if the government levied a five to 10 percent flat tax in the country to widen the tax net and revenue.
The SAFMA delegation comprised Imtiaz Alam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Arif Nizami, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami, Munnoo Bhai, Irfan Siddiqui, Gen (r) Talat Masood, Muhammad Ziauddin, Mehmood Mirza and Khalid Ahmed. The delegation also shared its views on the political scenario with Nawaz Sharif.