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Opening Remarks of Prime Minister in the Cabinet held on 16th May, 2012?

 I would like to share some thoughts on important events and developments that took place since we last met on 25th April, 2012. 
I visited United Kingdom last week, for the 1st review of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue. We had initiated the dialogue during Prime Minister Cameron’s visit to Pakistan last year. The visit was extremely successful. I had the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony of the British Parliament by Queen on the Diamond Jubilee of her reign, and the Parliamentary reception by the Speaker. 
I also visited the Buckingham Palace for a meeting with the Duke of York. Apart from the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue review, all major Ministers called on me for detailed discussions on various strands of cooperation between Pakistan and UK. The warm welcome given to an elected Prime Minister reflects the importance and confidence UK Government attaches to its relations with democratic Pakistan. 
British Prime Minister David Cameron applauded the fact that my Government was working to strengthen democracy in Pakistan. His categorical statement that Pakistan’s friend is the UK’s friend and Pakistan’s enemy is the UK’s enemy, a strong reiteration of Pakistan’s standing and importance in the comity of nations. 
The United Kingdom has vowed to build a deeper and stronger relationship with Pakistan and to strengthen relations in the fields of trade, defence, health and education. We have also agreed to boost bilateral trade upto 2.5 billion Sterling Pounds by 2015.
The global economic crisis was also taken into account and it was agreed that both the countries would take tough decisions in order to deliver on future growth and prosperity.
A decision was made with regard to maintaining regular dialogue on the subject of economic reform. Shared national security challenges and cooperation in the field of counter terrorism also came under discussion.
I conveyed Pakistan’s and its people’s appreciation for the UK’s consistent support for enhanced market access to the European Union. The UK has assured us of their continued support for GSP Plus.
This visit, I am sure, would yield positive outcome in view of bilateral relations between the two countries.
While I was abroad some political leaders tried to undermine the sanctity of the office of the Prime Minister and urged their party workers to stage protest rallies in foreign land against me. They failed miserably in their attempt.
These people must know that they cannot interpret the judgment of the courts according to their own whims and should avoid influencing the courts by their naive statements.
I have a right to appeal and hope that justice will be done and the provisions of the Constitution will be respected. I shall protect the Constitution at all costs and would not be deterred by any threat.
Our relations with NATO and US are passing through a delicate phase where we need to take critical decisions keeping in view our strategic importance in the region and our national interests. We did not and will not compromise on our principled stand but would also not take emotional decisions, which do not auger well for us in the long run. 
The current financial year is coming to a close and our next pro people budget would be a step towards macro economic stability and provision of relief to the common man.
In parliamentary democracies annual budget indicates governmental choices and preferences for development of social and economic sectors such as education, health, communication and infrastructure. It is the major policy instrument with public representatives to exercise control over, not only the collection of taxes, but also the governmental priorities in various sectors through allocation of resources.
Though the Finance Minister and his team is in final stages of the budget preparation I will like to give following policy guidelines and broad parameters on which they should focus and give priority :-
The budget should be people friendly and priority be given to alleviating the difficulties of common man and provision of relief.
Job creation through the next budget should be a top priority. Job opportunities for 100,000 young men and women have to be created.
In order to ensure cost effective service delivery to the masses, expansion and strengthening of infrastructure and improvement of governance should be our priority.
To address the energy crisis in the country, recommendations of the Energy Conference held in Lahore, in April, 2012, should be the guidelines for resource allocation for Power Sector, the recommendations of the Energy Conference have been prepared with the consensus of the Provinces.
Tax policy and tariff rationalization may be done thoughtfully. The tariff rationalization may be done methodically after analysis of all products on their own merit without discouraging the local and foreign investment.
Monitoring and evaluation capacity of Planning Commission be strengthened. The evaluation should be result-based with emphasis upon outcomes.
The cost of project management in public sector development is too high which needs to be further rationalized.
Expeditious and full disbursement of PSDP budgets should be ensured during the currency of the financial year. 
I would urge that a rational policy is needed for financing the PSDP projects and for efficient utilization of allocated funds so that the best use of limited resources is made and the objectives of PSDP are achieved.

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