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PM Ashraf urges political parties to unite for country's sake

22 December, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday urged all the political parties to join hands for the progress and prosperity of the country and face the challenges with unity.

Raja reaffirmed that Pakistan People Party (PPP) is committed to ensure free, fair and impartial elections in the country. "Elections would be credible, this would strengthen democracy", he added. He was talking to a delegation of National Democratic Institute (NDI), which called on him here at the PM's House and discussed with him the forthcoming general elections in the country.

Alluding to the recent judgement in the Asghar Khan case, the prime minister said history has vindicated Benazir Bhutto, who on the eve of 1990 elections said that the elections were stolen. "We are conscious of this and have brought about a system to ensure that no one can point fingers," he added. He said, "All political forces are on the same page as reflected in the appointment of a chief election commissioner by consensus."

Responding to a query on the law and order situation, Raja said that the law and order situation in the country was normal except for a few pockets. He said that the Election Commission of Pakistan is a powerful and independent institution which, and along with a caretaker government, would be responsible for holding general elections in the country.

Referring to the passage of Fair Trial Bill, the prime minister said that "we have good working relationship with opposition as manifested in the passage of the bill with consensus." He thanked the NDI delegation for its keen interest and participation in the process of holding general elections. Former Canadian prime minister Joe Cark, who led the delegation, said that he was pleased with the openness of the people of Pakistan and impressed by the arrangements made for holding elections in the country.

Cark observed that the composition of electorate has changed due to higher percentage of youth and women. He informed the prime minister that during his meeting with various sections of society, he was told that the forthcoming elections are associated with hope, which he termed as encouraging. He said that he found Pakistan different from the perception it carried in the West. The successful conclusion of the elections would "favourably impact its reputation," he added.

Prime Minister Raja said that Pakistan had a bright future ahead and urged the nation for concerted efforts to make it strong and prosperous. Addressing a gathering at the PM Secretariat during the launch of a book on four and a half years performance of the government, the prime minister asked the nation to shun despondency, saying desperation and hopelessness were a sin in Islam. "The entire nation must rise together irrespective of their religious and political affiliations, for the solidarity of Pakistan," Raja told the large gathering.

The 378-page book, published by the Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications, entitled; "Reconciliation, Reforms and Revival" goes beyond the "official statistics" to include perspectives from external contributors. Prime Minister Ashraf said that the media in Pakistan was fully independent.

End.

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