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Nobody can derail democracy: PM Raja Ashraf

30 December, 2012

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KARACHI: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Saturday that no one can derail democracy in the country as a lot of sacrifices have been rendered for it.

Speaking as the chief guest at the luncheon meeting of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the prime minister said that the elections are the amanat (trust) of the nation and will be conducted as per the procedure laid down in the constitution. He also gave the assurance that the next general elections would be held on time in a free, fair and transparent manner. "We are staunch supporters of democracy and any change through the democratic process will always be welcomed," he added.

Raja said that if anyone tried to create hurdles, he would face the wrath of people. Nobody would be allowed to harm the democratic process. He said that democracy was getting mature, as for the first time a civilian government was completing its five-year constitutional term. This will further strengthen the parliamentary system in the country, he added. The prime minister said that the party which gets the mandate of the masses in the next elections would form the government.

He pointed out that parliament was the mother of all institutions and ensured protection to the people. Recounting the present government's achievements, Raja said that when it came to power the country was importing 2.6 million tonnes of wheat and it was short of foreign exchange even to import oil. "Today we are exporting wheat and have attained food autarky with record exports while inflation has been brought down to a single digit from 25 percent. The performance of Karachi Stock Exchange has been historic," he added.

He said that the government was also tackling the challenge of terrorism and militancy. The prime minister said that the provinces had been empowered and given 1,000 billion rupees. He said when the provinces attain prosperity, the country would also be prosperous. The achievements of the democratic government should be appreciated and acknowledged, he added. Raja said that the government had formulated short-, medium- and long-term policies to overcome the energy crisis, and added that some 3,700 to 3,800 MW of electricity has been added to the national grid, he added.

The prime minister said that the present coalition government believed in taking along industrialists, business community and other stakeholders, ascertaining their opinions and taking decisions accordingly. He said that he had a lot of respect for the business community of Karachi, which being a trend-setter, had a respectable position in the region and contributed the biggest chunk of tax to the national exchequer. Concerted efforts will have to be made to make the country progress, he added.

The premier said that in the 2008 polls, the Pakistan People's Party PPP had won 124 National Assembly seats, while 172 members were needed to form the government. However, it was able to form the government with the help of its allies. He pointed out the challenges faced by the country when the present government came to power and also shed light on its achievements. He said that the government had taken steps for facilitating the industrial and business community.

End.

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