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Khawaja on Punjab Polls

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Thursday said the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) set new tradition of impartiality in the Punjab by-elections held on July 17 to safeguard esteem of vote and democracy in the country.

The PML-N leadership was using power as a public trust and did not indulge in victimization of political rival as their preceding Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership who maligned their prerogatives to target political opponents, the minister said while addressing a joint press conference flanked by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.

He observed PTI Chairman Imran Khan was giving government to “thieves” in Punjab and sacrificing his 178 members of the Punjab Assembly (MPs) to satiate his lust for power.

“He is accusing us [PML-N] of horse trading and claiming a single stamp paper verified by the same advocate which is insane to be considered as a proof,” he alleged.

The minister claimed that it was the first election that bore no accusations of rigging, adding, “Similarly the Daska by-election is another example of free and fair election which has been won by Nausheen Iftikhar despite political maneuvering of the then PTI government.”

Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz’s government had held the most fair elections in the 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly, Khawaja maintained.

“The party popularity declines politically in elections as it’s part of the process because democracy does bears stagnation rather entails change. There is no defeat of our narrative and it has no impact on our image ,” he added.

These elections, he said were contested on the basis of families or individuals and not parties like at one constituency a PML-N candidate contested independently due to difference of opinion.

“The result of 20 electoral constituencies contest claim that PML-N government gave respect to vote and circumvent its tainting through any sort of intrusion”.

The PTI government thought out its tenure used the public trust for victimization of its rivals, adding, “I and Miftah are victims of that but we have no regrets and neither blame any.”

He mentioned that the former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) head possessed bad repute and he did not want to narrate it publicly.

“The Federal Cabinet has appointed a police officer of good reputation from the Police Service as NAB head and no one can question his personality and moral repute,” he added.

He underlined that the PML-N government would use the power as a trust of public and not for perpetuating its government and July 17 (by-elections) was its greater example.

“We have up held respect of vote and guarded the honour of democracy in the country on July 17,” he said.

Since the past 20 years, Dollar had gained the highest exchange rate where the depreciation of Pakistani currency was 12% whereas Dollar and Euro had gained same exchange rate alongwith Pound also facing the burden of rising inflation, he told the media men, adding, “Ukraine War is the major cause of it. The local currency depreciation has more external factors as compared to internal ones”.

The PML-N and her allied deliberately took power instead of giving up as due to rising inflation there was sure default of national economy and IMF would have left the country in the lurch.

“At the cost of political popularity, the PML-N faced it deliberately to avert default of the country’s economy as it would have been greater than the free fall of exchange if left unattended. Pakistan’s economic revival is above all and important than anything else and we are ready to pay any cost for it,” he insisted.

The minister said from April 11 till the moment, the PML-N government had taken all measures sincerely without any political motives.
“We could have resigned or announced early elections but have taken the responsibility of bringing stability in the country,” he added.

Responding to various media queries, Khawaja said the political parties should have room for correction and revalidation and July 17 experience would help PML-N bring improvement in its conduct.

The economic liberalization introduced by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif improved the situation which was pursued in 1997 and in 2013 as well.

Pakistan had huge internal resources that demanded better management and fixing of all leakages to reduce economic drains and exploit streams of economic opportunities, he added.

He informed that the Gulf countries like Qatar, Kuwait and others had showed interest in certain government entities whereas the government had prepared a draft legislation required for government to government engagement.

He mentioned that the state institutions’ no interference was actually their functionality under their constitutional limits which should be welcomed and respected by all the political parties. | YouTube Channel

Sania Jamali

Sania Jamali, who studied Media in UAE, is associated with since its inception (2015) mostly reporting International Politics.