Ahsan says Senate, general elections to be held on time

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  • Minister says high-level PML-N meeting reviews political situation, discusses upcoming challenges

  • ‘Europe, US responsible for issues which Pakistan is facing nowadays’

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior Affairs Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said that Senate and general elections will be held on time and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) will continue its mass contact campaign to mobilise its supporters.

Talking to media after a high-level consultative meeting of PML-N here, he said that the leadership reviewed the political situation in the country and held a discussion on the upcoming Senate elections. The meeting was chaired by PML-N President Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Ahsan said that the democratic process was becoming strong and democracy was taking roots despite all hurdles. In the last 70 years, for the second time a democratically-elected government would complete its tenure, he said, adding that the completion of tenure of a democratic government would send a positive message to the outside world.

The minister said that the party’s leadership expressed satisfaction over the public response in the meetings recently addressed by Nawaz Sharif. Senator Mushahidullah said that PML-N would fully participate in the Senate elections. He said that every conspiracy against democracy would be exposed.

He said that the Pakistan People’s Party would not win a single seat in the Senate from Punjab. Nobody would be allowed to indulge in horse-trading in the Senate elections, he said. He also said that the lawyer of Nawaz Sharif would appear in the Supreme Court during the hearing of the case about the ineligibility of candidates of the National Assembly.

He said that the PML-N leadership also held a discussion on the future political strategy and the government’s performance. According to the party, PML-N President Nawaz Sharif will speed up his public contact campaign and would hold meetings in Peshawar, Chitral and undertake a visit to Karachi to meet with the party’s provincial leadership in the coming days.

Addressing a ceremony organised by the Centre for Research and Security Studies in connection with the launch of a study report on the role of Islamic seminaries in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the interior minister called for resolving the larger political issues of the region and doing collective efforts to root out causes of radicalisation and extremism.

“The issue of radicalisation is not confined to this region alone but the youth in Europe are also joining the terrorist groups and fighting in Syria,” he said. For peace in the region, “there is a need to keep in mind the larger political issues as without resolving them peace is not possible,” he said.

However, pointing the fingers will not help address the issue but complicate the matters, he said. The Western world will have to fulfil its responsibility and have to show the same kind concerns for the Muslims of Kashmir, Palestine and Myanmar which they demonstrated for East Timor and South Sudan, he said.

Ahsan said that extremism was generated as a result of discrimination and prejudiced attitude. “This sort of treatment will generate distress amongst the people and they will choose to follow extremism when they will not get justice. The terrorist groups are exploiting the conflicts in the Muslim world to their advantage,” he said.

The interior minister said that the Islamic seminaries were an important part of the Islamic civilisation and they produced renowned scientists of the world. He said that these seminaries have produced renowned personalities in the different field of sciences including physics, chemistry, and Algebra.

He said that the seminaries were once the sole means of getting the education and it was in the colonial period that the education and religious education were separated. “From 1979, their role was changed and they were used to fight against communism. During this period, these seminaries were used to get the workforce to do fight against communism,” he added.

In the US universities, the Afghan refugees’ children were made militants for fighting against the former USSR and after the end of the war the USA themselves took trophies for winning the war and left Pakistan alone to face the consequences, he pointed out. “Basically Europe and US are responsible for the issues which Pakistan is facing nowadays,” he added.

About seminary reforms, he said that these religious institutions were very much interested in this process. National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua said that the seminaries reforms have almost been completed and currently the government was engaged in the process to give them a legal shape.

“Wafaqul Madaris has agreed that the seminaries will follow the same syllabus which is being taught in schools and colleges,” he added. Denmark Ambassador Rolf Holmboe appreciated the recent launch of the Paigham-e-Pakistan narrative against extremism which also envisages a fatwa against terror attacks.

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