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Premature dissolution of any provincial assembly not to affect Senate election: PM

Lahore : Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday said the premature dissolution of any provincial assembly or assemblies would not affect the Senate election, which would be held in time as per the Constitution.

“In case, any provincial assembly is dissolved before the Senate elections, the senators would be elected on the basis of seats in the National Assembly and the remaining provincial assemblies. The Constitution is very much clear on it,” he said in an interview with a private television channel.

The prime minister in response to a question said there could be an aspect of conspiracy in such things and talks. However, if any chief minister opted for a premature dissolution of a provincial assembly, he would compromise his politics, he added.

About the gathering of main opposition parties leaders along with Dr.Tahir ul Qadri in Lahore on January 17, Prime Minister Abbasi said it was for them (Asif Zardari and Imran Khan) to think and decide as to why they were joining hands with a non-entity (Tahir ul Qadri).

To another question, he said, “If Asif Ali Zardari and Imran Khan were joining hands with a smaller party, which had no political credibility and base, then questions would definitely arise.”   “I don’t know why they are in a hurry, when only four months are left in the election,” the prime minister said and categorically stated that the government would complete its term and the general election would be held in July next.

He said even if he dissolved the National Assembly right now, there was no chance for early election before the completion of ongoing process of delimitation of constituencies in accordance with the new census.

He advised the opposition parties and leaders to wait for the next general election; focus on election politics and not to become part of the efforts of instability, which would affect their performance in the election.To another question, the prime minister said Imran Khan was used to taking turns on daily basis.

To a query, he clarified his remarks about the July 28 Supreme Court verdict and said he had stated that the decision was neither accepted by the masses nor it would be recorded in the history. The SC verdict was implemented in letter and spirit, he added.

He also referred to the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and said that decision of the superior court was not accepted by the masses as well as history. As regards former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s views about institutions, Abbasi said he (Nawaz Sharif) was a senior politician and thrice-elected prime minister and his views were “not a hard-line” but “a statement of facts”.

To a question about Nawaz Sharif’s reported views about Sheikh Mujeeb ur Rehman, the prime minister said, “The politicians have to face different questions from media, and sometimes the remarks are reported out of context.”

When asked as to who would be the next prime minister from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) if the party won the next election, he said it would be decided by the party’s Central Executive Committee and the leadership.

Prime Minister Abbasi said the relationship between Nawaz Sharif and Zia ul Haq only remained for less than three months, from May to August 1988, and the impression of any long association carried no truth. He said besides being a statesman, Nawaz Sharif was an experienced politician not only in Pakistan but the world over. He had carried out record development during his tenures and always upheld democracy and constitution.

During last 30 years, the PML-N remained in power for only ten years at the Centre and one could compare its performance with others, he added.

To a question, the prime minister said the PML-N was a democratic party as its members enjoyed freedom of speech more than any other party.   He said there was no room for a technocrat government in the Constitution. In past, many technocrats had ruled the country, but they had no Contribution. The government in 2002 was not a public representative and everyone was witnessed to what they had delivered, the prime minister remarked.

To another question about the civil-military relations, the prime minister said Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was a professional and was selected by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif out of a panel.

He viewed that the incumbent Army Chief had performed well and that the civil military relations were harmonious that would be better for the country’s future. Prime Minister Abbasi said General Bajwa was committed for the continuation of democracy and holding of timely elections.

Speaking about the foreign policy challenges, the prime minister said starting from the first policy announced by US President Trump to recent tweets, Pakistan had opted a firm stance that it was a sovereign country which unfortunately pinched some states. Pakistan had always strived to protect its sovereignty and sustained the pressure from those who criticized it, he remarked.

To a question whether Pakistan was dependent on the United States or vice versa, the prime minister said all the countries were interdependent on one another as no state could operate independently.  Asked about any common ground to resolve the issues, he said it was there as both Pakistan and the US had been fighting anti-terror war. Pakistan, he added, had responded to the US reservations and also extended cooperation against terrorism. Besides, both the countries had also a history of economic and people-to-people ties.

He said Pakistan had fought the anti-terror was from its own resources, which led to the loss of around 60,000 lives and economical loss of $ 120 billion.

When questioned about any Indian role in strains between Pak-US ties, he said no doubt, India had hegemonic designs in the region but Pakistan had its counter-designs too. He said Pakistan had a core issue of Kashmir with India and there was no room for relaxation on it. “We still have tension on border and now a new dimension of nuclear capability has also been added.”

To a question about any possible sideline meeting with Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi at Davos during the upcoming World Economic Forum, he said sideline meetings took place where there was any willingness from both sides. But, such willingness never came from the Modi regime.

He said back-channel diplomacy always continued but formal diplomatic channels were not possible until atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir were ended.

Regarding the country’s economic outlook, Prime Minister Abbasi said economy was growing at 5.5 percent and it could have been above 6.5 percent had there been no sit-in and the Panama issue.

To another question, the prime minister said Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had been on the list of privatization for last 15 year as the government had been facing Rs 450 billion deb due to the entity, with Rs 40 billion added just during last year. He recalled that till October 12, 1999, PIA had no debt, rather it used to give dividends to the government. He viewed that governments could not run any business entity, particularly an airline as it had to face a stiff competition from the world airlines.

About the current political situation, the prime minister advised Tahir-ul-Qadri to leave for his country Canada, as being a dual national he was ineligible to even contest election in Pakistan. He also expressed his astonishment over the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, who were following such a person.

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