Lahore : Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Sunday strongly rejected all speculations about formation of groups within the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), maintaining that the party would contest the upcoming general elections on basis of its performance.
He said the people had not accepted the July 28 decision of disqualifying Nawaz Sharif. It would be a reason of public reaction in the next elections.
In Geo News programme hosted by Sohail Warraich, the prime minister said he had long association with the PML-N and remained steadfast through thick and thin.
He dispelled the impression that he was an aspirant for the office of next prime minister as the party leadership would decide such issues.
To a question, the prime minister maintained that there were no redlines for his government. Only Constitution contained the redlines. He said all the amendments in the constitution were done with consensus.
Nawaz Sharif had never phoned him during the last seven months, he said in reply to a question.
To another question, the prime minister said the government has to take major as well as minor decisions which definitely had impacts. He said they had learnt from the past mistakes. The government has to tackle varying issues with consensus and under a mechanism, set by the working of cabinet and parliament.
The prime minister, responding to another question replied that he did not see any efforts by anyone to throw spanner into the upcoming Senate elections which would be held on time. However, he questioned how a party which did not have members in the assemblies, could elect its members in the Senate.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should take notice of such practices, he said, adding “We will name and shame those elements who would employ such antics. Moreover, our party will exert all possible moral pressure on them.” The prime minister also vehemently opposed the suggestion about a presidential form of government.
“The system is not capable to steer the country out of the emerging issues and dangerous for its stability.”
To another query, he said after the devolution of powers, the provinces ought to develop their capacity and show their performance.
“The provincial governments which failed to comply with their mandates, would meet failure at the end. Among all provinces, only Punjab had been performing well,” he added.
The prime minister said all governments functioned after getting funding and loans from lending institutions or partners as mode of investments which were returned.
He said the country had witnessed massive growth during the last four and half years. But instability in the form of Dharnas and subsequently, with the Panama case and its decision, created uncertainty in the country.
However, his government took measures and now the issues were under control, he said, adding if there was continuity, the country would have progressed rapidly.
He also dispelled the suggestion to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by saying that the country had other resources to tap for its financial needs.
The prime minister opined that uniformity in the educational curriculum should be considered by all the provinces as so far no efforts were made in this regard.
The subject of education had been devolved to the provinces after 18th Amendment. At least there should be uniform examination system throughout the country, he added.
The prime minister suggested that there should be a national debate and consensus over the subject and dropped the hint that he would try to take the issue in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meetings.
The prime minister also justified restructuring of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) as it had whopping liabilities of around Rs 450 billion whereas its losses in the last year, stood at Rs40-42 billion. To a question, the prime minister said he was ready to face any allegations over the import of LNG contract. He said that he had been paying taxes for the last 35 years. About the load-shedding issue in the upcoming summer season, he maintained that the government had added about 10,400 MW power in the national grid by enhancing the generation capacity. However, at certain times, there could be surge in demand or other technical issues but there would be no cut in supply of power to consumers, he added. He reiterated that the government would complete its term as it had functioned in a transparent way while serving the public.
About appearance of Maryam Nawaz in the public gatherings, the prime minister said although she was not a member of parliament, but she was making her public contribution. To another question, the prime minister said the PML-N was only led by its leader Nawaz Sharif. Politicians who wanted to serve the country and countrymen should manifest their sincerity with their motives and actions, he added.
The prime minister said he always welcomed the criticism directed against him within the confines of ethics which was only acceptable. He said he had no interaction with Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and did not give heed to his opinion.
About age of retirement for the politicians, the prime minister said it depended upon the politicians themselves to take a decision in this regard, however, he said it must be a difficult one.
To a question, he said his government had banned the licensing of automatic weapons as it had not been allowed anywhere in the world.