Shahid Khaqan Abbasi: PM

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi: PM

ISLAMABAD: The prime minister said the world acknowledged Pakistan’s narrative over Kashmir and the UN also appreciated its stance and rejected allegations.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan enjoyed fraternal ties and invited Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to visit Pakistan and he would warmly welcome him.

He also expressed his intention to visit Kabul as both countries had sacrificed for each other. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa had extended an invitation to the Afghan president on behalf of the government of Pakistan, he added.

The prime minister said Pakistan wanted a stable Afghanistan and had offered sacrifices in that regard. It had reminded the Afghan government that certain allegations were not acceptable as the issues could be resolved on the table.

Prime Minister Abbasi further said the Afghan government was told that Pakistan would continue pursuing the border fencing initiative aggressively as attacks on its soil took place from across the Afghan border.  It had also offered them joint patrols for effective border control.

Responding to a question, the prime minister said the COAS would also visit Iran on the government’s behalf, adding operational issues required to be addressed through talks. He said Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif had also held meetings with the Iranian leadership.

The prime minister to another question said that he was functioning under the Constitution. “We have to steer the government under the Constitution and complete tasks by the PML-N government by adhering to the pro-developmental policies and look forward for the next elections. It’s my mandate,” he elaborated.

He said no country could function with dual policies and rejected the impression that the government’s policies were directed from somewhere else.

“People give mandate under which a government functions. We have to progress with this public mandate,” he said, adding the change should be only through the ballot paper and not through courts or on streets. People had to decide it solely.

The prime minister maintained that elections would be held on time.

He said on July 28, an unprecedented incident happened, judiciary handed over a verdict which was fully implemented, but the people of the country had not accepted it and even the government’s adversaries could not mention it to settle their scores.

He said it was his opinion that the history would not accept it. Within three days, a new set-up was established. It was the stability of the democratic system, he said  and ruled out conspiracies against the government, resolving that conspiracies would be confronted with full force.

He said the National Security Committee meetings were being held frequently and regularly.

About deployment of Rangers at the Accountability Court, he said as prime minister, he had directed the interior minister to probe the issue.

Such an impression was not good if restrictions were imposed on the movement of people inside courts especially when a political figure was appearing, he added.

To another question, the prime minister said the interior ministry was compiling data about the owners of automatic arms licenses who would be given options to surrender their arms. He said private people should have no access to such weapons.

About broadening of the tax net, he said the issue could not be resolved overnight. About Rs102 billion tax was being paid by the salaried class while the tax paid by the non-salaried people stood around Rs 45 billion only.

He agreed that tax rates should be minimized from the current 30 per cent to 10 or 12 per cent.

The prime minister mentioned that stick and carrot policy coupled with application of technology could be used to overcome the issue and plug the loopholes in the system.

He also dropped a hint that a proper policy, which should be successful and accepted to all and sundry, would be framed soon as the government required generation of revenue.

He said the FBR issued a tax directory about parliamentarians.

The prime minister also appreciated Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s performance, who, according to him, had given a fiscal space to the country.

He said by mere allegations, a person could not be condemned and told to compare his performance with former ministers.

Expressing his complete satisfaction with his performance, he said Dar was the best person to face today’s challenges.

About his affiliation with Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister said he had been the head of PML-N.

He said the government was continuing with Nawaz Sharif’s policies and added that he did not receive directions from the party president.

To another question, the prime minister said the issue of election bill stood resolved after the parliament unanimously adopted it.

He said PML-N President Nawaz Sharif had formed a party committee to examine who were responsible for the mistake.