Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid said on Sunday that a similar pattern had emerged in the elections results in Cantonment elections, by-elections and now in LG polls with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) coming out as the clear winner and this fact proved beyond any doubt that General Elections 2013 were the fairest and most transparent in the country’s history.
Talking to media personnel at a seminar on “Role of Media in implementation of Urdu” at Aiwan-e-Iqbal, he said that the parliamentarians should legislate to improve the electoral system and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership must try to learn what the people want instead of resorting to baseless criticism, politics of protests and indignation and naked self-aggrandizement.
Responding to a question, the information minister said the PTI leadership would have to decide if the nucleus of its politics would be the efforts for making the democratic system a success, eliminating terrorism from the country, overcoming energy-crisis and to accelerate efforts to improve good-governance in the country things that were part of the PML-N manifesto.
Rashid said it was satisfying that the people exercised their right to vote in a peaceful atmosphere in Punjab while the same electoral process in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) had presented a different scene with the news showing a sitting provincial minister in KP transporting ballot-boxes in his car, while another stole ballot boxes on gun-point. He said that Mian Iftikhar Hussain of ANP was implicated in a false firing case during the KP LG polls.
Rashid said that so controversial were the KP LG polls that the PTI Chairman Imran Khan even talked of re-poll in the province.
Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, former MNA Raheela Qazi, PILAC Director Dr Sughra Sadaf, intellectuals and representatives of the civil society attended the seminar.
Talking about the importance of the LG polls for the democratic system, Rashid said that the local bodies government was a means of empowering the masses at their door-steps, adding that before the LG polls in Punjab, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was serving the masses but now his associates would also be present in every nook and corner of the province to resolve their problems.
The minister said that Shahbaz Sharif had ensured supremacy of law and order in the province and had always adopted zero-tolerance policy even against his closest aides if found erring.
About any rifts at the lower level in the party, he said the ballot had resolved all kinds of differences among political factions of PML-N in LG polls in Faisalabad and that the party had accepted it.
“Political parties pass through election process within parties all over the world and one group wins and the other loses and that settles the matter”, he added.
To another query, the minister said the local government representatives would get all their rights and powers once they sit in their offices.
Earlier, addressing the participants of the seminar on the “Role of media in the implementation of Urdu as the official language”, he said the government would adopt all measures to ensure implementation of the apex court’s orders for implementation of Urdu as the official language, adding that it was due to democracy that all institutions were free today in the country and people had the right to protest for their demands.
Rashid extolled the virtues of democracy which had empowered all with the right to free speech, adding that such freedoms were unknown during the dictatorial regimes. He said that the political parties, civil society, bar councils, media and the judges had rendered invaluable sacrifices to win freedom.
“Democracy empowers all institutions like judiciary to correct and direct while dictatorship sows the seeds of suicide jackets and terrorism in societies,” Rashid said.
Rashid said that many people like him had borne the brunt of the four dictatorial regimes so that the people could have the right to free speech and democracy. He said it was Prime Minister Muhmmad Nawaz Sharif who led the march for the independence of judiciary despite all threats and made the freedom of judiciary possible.
The information minister said that the regional languages would also be promoted in the country. He said Urdu was accessible to all citizens in the country but the media must master other languages also as it needs to convey Pakistan’s voice to other countries as well.