Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan this week invited the opposition parties to sit with the government for improving and reforming the electoral process for the sake of future of democracy in Pakistan.
“Since the elections in country have been controversial after 1970, we are striving to improve the election process. We have proposed election reforms and I will request the opposition to sit with the government, as it pertains to the future of democracy in Pakistan,” he said while speaking on the floor of National Assembly.
Imran Khan also referred to his 21 years of cricketing experience and said the controversies of defeat and victory in the international cricket only ended after the introduction of neutral empires and the support of modern technology.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the campaign of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) after the 2013 general elections, when his party wanted the audit of only four constituencies, but the then government did not accept the demand and later the matter was decided by the court.
He said that the introduction of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in elections besides ensuring transparency will also quicken the process of announcement of election results.
The Prime Minister further said that the government was also ready to listen to the opposition parties if they had any better proposal for election reforms.
Imran Khan in his wide-ranging address spoke on various issues of national importance including his government’s vision of a welfare state, budget, economic policies, foreign policy challenges as well as the situation Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and the government’s economic team for presenting a people-friendly budget (2021-22), which he said reflected his vision of Pakistan.
Imran Khan said when he founded the PTI 25 years’ back his vision for a welfare state was according to the Nazaria-e-Pakistan and the Objective Resolution, which the country’s founding fathered had dreamt for on the basis of the principles of Riasat-e-Madina, the first welfare state in the world.
He said history was witness to the fact that it were the strong principles of Riasat-e-Madina established by Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), which led to the fall of two big Roman and Persian empires only after 13 years.
The Prime Minister, however, added that when the Muslim world left those principles and went down, Europe emerged and came up by following the principles of the welfare state.
He said that since the PTI was founded on the basis of three principles i.e. Justice, Humanity and Self-Esteem, which was also included in the party’s vision-statement, he wanted the budget to reflect that vision.
The Prime Minister said that all the members of economic team working for the last three years deserved credit for the economic achievements made by his government.
Imran Khan said that despite the inherited major challenges including the US $ 20 billion of Current Account Deficit and the fear of default his government stabilized economy through inevitable hard decisions which also hit the common man.
He referred to the similar situation faced by Turkey before President Recep Tayyip Erogan put their economy on track through corrective measures. “Times come in the history of nations when they have to face hardships for the sake of country.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan also thanked the friendly countries including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China for their financial support to Pakistan in difficult situation, which saved the country from default.
He further said that initially his government had been striving to avoid from going to IMF, but later it had to go to IMF to fulfill the country’s fiscal needs.
The Prime Minister also mentioned his government’s successful strategy of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped recover the country from the negative economic effects of the pandemic that impacted the whole world.
He said despite the pressures and criticism from opposition and media, his government did not go for complete lockdown and adopted the policy of identifying hotspots through “trace and track” and opted for smart lockdowns to protect daily-wagers and laborers from economic hardships.
The Prime Minister appreciated the services of National Command and Control Center (NCOC), Asad Umar, Dr Faisal Sultan and the personnel of armed forces involved in the whole process during the pandemic.
He said that the government’s decision of early opening the construction, agriculture and exports sectors also helped in realization of around 4% economic growth despite the challenge of COVID-19.
Imran Khan said that the government provided financial support to 12 million families through Ehsaas Program, which ranked 4th in the world.
He said that with the grace of Allah Almighty, the country despite the challenge of locust attack achieved record wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane production, which besides helping to achieve economic growth also led to economic prosperity in rural areas.