LAHORE: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has “Zero conflict policy” with neighbours, including India, Afghanistan and other states in the larger interest of the country.
He was addressing an international conference on “Social Change and Security Imperatives: Challenges for Leadership and Democratic Governance in Pakistan” held here at Forman Christian College on Thursday.
Martine Herlem Hamidi, French Counsellor for Cooperation & Cultural Affairs in Pakistan, Dr James Tebbe, Rector FC College and Dr Saeed Shafqat, Director Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG) were also present on the occasion.
Ahsan Iqbal said that a comprehensive development plan for 20 to 25 years is being prepared and stressed that it should not be seen as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz plan, rather a “National Policy” to set dimensions of futuristic progress in the country.
Ahsan Iqbal said that education, health, energy, law and order and other important sectors would be accorded priority in this plan.
He said that largely due to poor performance of previous regimes the incumbent government is facing many issues, including poverty, food security, energy crisis, unemployment, extremism, law and order, and regretted that the country was earlier run on ‘year to year’ plans. He said that extremism is a global virus and a major threat to mankind which exists in almost all the countries. Ahsan said that Pakistan lost its eastern part just after 25 years of its creation due to non-existence of democracy.
“And now we are faced with many problems in Balochistan and Sindh. But on the other hand India followed the course of democracy”, adding that as a result it is still intact.
However, he noted that in the democratic process of the country now some maturity can be seen. In this context he highlighted the transition of power from one democratic government to the other. Like wise, Chief Justice and Chief of Army Staff have assumed power through a constitutional process which is a positive sign for the country,he appreciated.
Ahsan Iqbal hoped for further consensus and harmony among all the democratic institutions over national issues and said that democracy is on the right track.
Talking about corruption, the minister said that there was a time when ‘corruption scandals’ were the talk of the media, but during seven months of the government, not even one such scandal could be found as Premier Mohammad Nawaz Sharif has demonstrated “zero tolerance” for corruption.
The minister concluded by saying that, “Inter-dependency among the countries of south and central Asia is the need of time as 3 billion people, almost half of total population of the globe, live here and the region is a hub of commerce and trade.”