Govt ready to hold elections, says Raja Ashraf
05 August, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday said that the PPP leadership was determined to hold free, fair and transparent elections so the people could choose their next government.
Addressing workers of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) from Gujjar Khan at the Prime Minister's House, Raja said that the people would get an opportunity to decide who would run the government in future.
He said, "Election is our field and we are always ready to go into elections. Somebody else may be afraid of elections but we yearn for them as it is the only way for the Pakistan People's Party to form government." He said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had come to power through elections.
"No dictator brought Benazir Bhutto into power and Asif Zardari became president with a two-thirds majority support of parliament and ousted a dictator with the support of people," he observed.
The prime minister said that the PPP came into power through ballot and formed governments in the provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Despite all the criticism and joint opposition, the PPP won the by-election in Multan on the seat vacated by Yousaf Raza Gilani, he noted.
He said that the PPP government had started preparing for elections as it appointed an honest and impartial chief election commissioner, as recommended by the opposition.
He said that the PPP government carried out record development projects in the last four years and would contest the elections on the basis of its performance.
He said that he respected the opposition, as it was part of parliament and had a stake in democracy like anybody else.
Raja stressed the need for healthy politics in which parties presented their programme before the people and refrained from levelling unfounded allegations.
"We should move towards matured politics," he said, adding that the government and the opposition in the past had worked together to overcome challenges of terrorism and enact constitutional amendments.
Raja said that the PPP took over reins of the government when the country was faced with grave challenges of terrorism and economic distress.
At that time, he said, Pakistan's flag was taken down from Swat, but with support of the people, the army rendered unparalleled sacrifices and freed areas of Swat and Malakand.
About 3.5 million internally displaced persons returned to their homes with dignity, which was unprecedented, he added.
He said when the PPP came to power, there was flour shortage and wheat was being imported but now the country had achieved food security and was in a position to export wheat.
Narrating other achievements of the government, he said that the minimum wage of workers had been raised from Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 and pensions and salaries were increased at a time economic conditions were difficult.
Raja said that the government steered the country out of difficult conditions when its detractors were repeatedly giving dates for its departure.
He said the PPP had only 124 members in the National Assembly but through political reconciliation it formed governments at federal and provincial levels and presented five budgets.
Raja said that the PPP had no need to be defensive as its record of public service spoke for itself.
The PPP has strong ties with the people and the government is working untiringly to overcome the challenges of power shortages, price hike and unemployment to bring prosperity for the common man, he added.
He said that the price hike and unemployment were global problems and had affected countries like the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia, as global economy was adversely affected.