|Govt not averse to early poll: PM|
01 September 2012
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday dropped a broad hint that the government was not loath to holding general elections earlier than scheduled.
“If someone wants elections two months earlier, then it can be discussed,” he said during an interview with Pakistan Television. He, however, hastened to add that if parliament completed its tenure, it would send a positive message to the international community about Pakistan.
Commenting on a caretaker government set-up, Premier Ashraf clarified that the leaders of the house and opposition must reach a consensus on a caretaker prime minister. He said he himself wanted to reach a consensus with the leader of opposition for a caretaker administration.
As we are approaching the elections, he said, it is necessary that parliament should complete its constitutional term. He said that if two or three assemblies were given the chance to complete their constitutional terms, it would be an indication that democracy had flourished.
He renewed a government pledge to hold “fair, free, and transparent” general elections to strengthen the democratic process in the country.
“Democracy has power and it is the basic right of the people to vote according to their conscience in a fair, free and impartial atmosphere.” The premier restated the government’s stance that it would ensure the masses are given the right to elect their representatives through fair, free and impartial elections.
Ashraf claimed that Pakistanis had reservations about the elections held in 2008 under the tenure of former president, Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf, but the people accepted the results. He stated that the will and voice of the people will be reflected through impartial elections.
At the same time, the premier warned that “any electoral process that was rejected by the masses would not have the desired impact on the country.” Referring to past elections held in the country, the premier claimed that there were many reservations held over them, but assured that the democratically elected government of the Pakistan Peoples Party will ensure free, fair and impartial elections.
Moreover, he said that some former dictators even held a referendum, but Pakistanis did not accept them as an alternative to general elections. Replying to a question, Ashraf mentioned that “through fair, free and impartial elections, the people have the right to elect their future rulers,” and assured that the government will ensure a peaceful atmosphere to conduct the forthcoming elections.
“It is mine and the government’s number one priority to hold free, fair and impartial elections so that no one can blame the government for any wrongdoing and it will ensure that the country will move forward,” the prime minister said.
Premier Ashraf also spoke on the ongoing energy crisis that has gripped Pakistan, saying that bridging the deficit between the demand and supply of electricity and gas was a top priority for the government.
“We are making efforts to set up new power generation plants and take decisions which will help us meet the growing energy demand in the future,” he added. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)
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