MUZAFFARABAD: Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Sunday said political stability in the country was need of the hour and those trying to create political instability actually wanted to destabilize it economically.
He was addressing a joint press conference along with Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Political Affairs Dr Asif Kirmani, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) PML-N Raja Farooq Haider Khan and other PML-N leaders of AJK.
He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) wanted to develop and connect the country through road networks but Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was creating chaos through his “politics of protests on roads”.
“Nawaz Sharif wants to make highways jugular vein of the national economy whereas Imran Khan wants to create anarchy and violence on the roads,” he added.
He said the PML-N had put the country on the track of economic development but some elements were hatching conspiracies to hinder that process. “Economic stability is not possible without political stability,” he added
He said Pakistan was moving forward on the road to economic development due to prudent policies of the PML-N government under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Foreign exchange reserves, he said, had surpassed 21 billion dollars for the first time in the country’s history. Now the world economic experts believed that Pakistan would soon become one of the big economies of the world, he added.
He, however, said that for elimination of terrorism, overcoming energy shortage and creation of employment opportunities, political stability was imperative.
Pervaiz Rashid regretted that when the country started making progress, anti-development forces had become active and tried to create political instability.
He recalled that when the PML-N government achieved self-reliance in defence on May 28, 1998, and started journey towards economic development, political instability was created on October 12, 1999.
The democratic and constitutional system, he said, was packed up and one person started taking decisions about the country. Compromises on the national sovereignty were made during the Musharraf rule and now the present government was trying to restore the country’s sovereignty over its land and skies, overcome energy crisis and eliminate terrorism, he added.
He said whenever there was political stability in the country, a container was parked in front of the Parliament. The PTI’s politics of sit-ins had badly affected the country’s economic progress and delayed the announcement of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for six months, he added.
He said due to the sit-ins, the nation’s precious time was wasted and these projects, including CPEC, were delayed.
Pervaiz Rashid said the political instability due to 120-day sit-in cost the nation dear as power and employment projects were delayed.
He said Nawaz Sharif wanted to build road and cold storages in AJK so that its fruits, which could not only be sold in Pakistani markets, can be exported.
The minister said some regional countries wanted to push Pakistan back economically and take its place instead, besides isolating it internationally.
He said the AJK elections had become very important as the federal government of the PML-N was desirous of development in the state. Allocations were made for all provinces and the AJK for development projects and good results were witnessed only in the provinces where the same were launched and completed with honesty.
However, unfortunately the incumbent government in the AJK did not come up to the expectations of the masses and Rs 300 billion provided by the federal government for development projects, were wasted, he added.
He said with growth in Pakistan’s economy, AJK’s share for development funds was increasing but its fruits could not reach the masses if an honest and capable government were not be elected there.
To a question, the minister said the Neelam-Jhelam hydro-power project would benefit the AJK people as they were its owners. The work on this project, which was started in 2002, was to be completed in 2005. Despite spending of billions of dollars, it was in worst condition when the PML-N came to power in 2013, he added.
He said the PML-N leadership during the visit of the project in 2013 was told that it would be completed in 2022, but Nawaz Sharif issued directives for its completion by 2017. He also directed for the construction of transmission line by 2017, which was though not planned in the original project, he added.
The minister said the PML-N had strongly rejected the “palace intrigues” and horse-trading for coming into power in AJK though it had plenty of opportunities. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was given the opportunity to complete its five-year tenure and go to the people for vote. The PML-N was popular in the AJK and hopefully would win the next elections, he added.
Pervaiz Rashid yesterday’s workers convention could be considered as a barometer to check the popularity of political parties in the AJK.
He said the PML started holding workers conventions and the first one was conducted in January in Bhimber and the yesterday’s moot was the last one.
“We organized these conventions to disseminate the PML-N message among its workers to prepare for elections. However, this activity was started after realizing that there was no difference between PML workers and voters.”
He said that the PML-N had become a family and all its workers were now family members. He himself and Dr Kirmani were PML-N workers, who addressed these conventions, but on the contrary, the top leadership of PPP and PTI addressed public meetings in the AJK.
Pervaiz Rashid said the people could easily judge the popularity of PML-N in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Its services in the AJK were were acknowledged by the people which was evident from the fact that its workers convention were larger than the public meetings of other parties, he added.- APP