Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday said that national and provincial assemblies would be dissolved within few weeks to pave a way for holding free, fair and transparent elections in the country.
Addressing a gathering of Pakistani Diaspora at a dinner hosted by Shaukat Saleem in the honour of Prime Minister and first lady Nusrat
Pervez Ashraf, the premier said that the future of Pakistan lies in impartial and fair elections and unfettered democracy.
First Lady, Nusrat Pervez Ashraf, Pakistan’s High commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan, President PPP (UK) Hasan Bukhari were also present
on the occasion. Eulogizing the much-needed contribution of the overseas Pakistanis in the development and prosperity of the country, the Prime Minister said that the present dispensation would again introduce a bill in the parliament to give right to Pakistani Diaspora of participation in the general elections.
The Prime Minister was of the view that if overseas Pakistanis
are allowed to cast their votes, they should also be permitted to seek votes in the general elections.He said that “Pakistani people, struggling abroad, are very diligent, hard working and resilient and represent the country in a graceful manner. Overseas Pakistanis from different parts and remote areas of Pakistan, struggle abroad to create respectable space and place, which is a source of pride for the country.
The Prime Minister said that he was grateful to Almighty Allah for his ascent to the position of premiership. Expressing thanks to President Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for reposing their confidence in him, Raja Pervez Ashraf said that he belonged to rank and file of the party and rose to this position by the grace of Allah.
The PM said that the status of “United Kingdom as the mother of parliaments was not secured over night, rather long struggle had been waged to rope in this place. Pakistan is blessed with numerous resources, a population of over 180 million people and rich cultures”.
The PM said that fight against terror has changed political dynamics of the entire world. He said that it is difficult to ascertain whether being a party to a war on terror was a wise decision on part of Pakistan or not. He said that he salutes all those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Pakistan.
He said that when PPP was voted into power in 2008, all political parties within and outside the parliament was convened along with heads of armed forces to resolve the issue of terrorism. He said that all stakeholders unanimously decided that the entire nation would stand behind the armed forces against war of terror. The PM added that “in Swat where there was no writ of law, the armed forces launched an operation and laid down their lives. Normal conditions were restored and 2.5 million IDPs were repatriated back to Swat”.
The PM said that Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto introduced adult franchise in 1970 and people were allowed to cast their votes to whom they wished to be in power, adding that Bhutto also laid the foundation of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. The PM said that Bhutto also initiated other important mega projects like steel mill, Karma project, Heavy Mechanical complex and self respect of common man had been restored.
The Prime Minister told the overseas that Pakistan was passing through the evolutionary phase, but the common man would ultimately be reaping benefits of the democracy. Referring to the role of media in Pakistan, he celebrated that around 100 news channels were functioning freely..
The PM underscored that the present assemblies of Pakistan would be the first in history to complete their constitutional tenure. Commenting on the historical ‘power friction between the presidency andf the parliament, he said that “Asif Ali Zardari had been elected as president with an overwhelming majority, but he voluntarily returned his powers to the parliament in the supreme interest of democracy and country. The president had realized that his real strength in fact rested with the democratic system that was why, he transferred all powers to parliament and the elected prime minister.”
The PM said that the present regime paved way for providing assembly to Gilgit Baltistan, renamed NWFP as KPK and demands for new provinces were gaining momentum. He said that “ small provinces could be managed administratively in a better manner, but these issues are also being politicized unnecessarily and the people should not get frustrated over such problems”
The Prime Minister concluded his speech by praising the positive role of British Prime Minister David Cameron for getting access for Pakistani products in the EU markets.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan also spoke on the occasion.