Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has categorically assured
the nation that the present assemblies would complete their tenure and
that there was no move to introduce presidential system in the country.
This clarification was timely and necessary as such
rumours being fanned by certain quarters are tend to create a sense of
instability affecting investors' confidence, besides leaving a negative
impact on the economy.
Besides holding a press conference to offset certain
false impressions stemmed from rumors, the Prime Minister, during the
last week, visited Balochistan and laid the foundation stone of Gwadar
Industrial Estate, had a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of
Canada who was on an official visit to Pakistan, chaired an informal
meeting of National Finance Commission (NFC) in a bid to resolve the
differences on the 6th award, launched the Pakistan Plan of Action to
implement SAARAC Social Charter, told a TV channel in an interview that
the nuclear power generation program was moving fast, received a
delegation from his constituency (Attock), met PML Chief Ch. Shujaat
Hussain for exchange of views on general political situation specially
the ongoing development program in Balochistan, and met a delegation of
Addressing a press conference at his parliament
chamber Shaukat Aziz said that the democratic system in the country is
working well and there was no confrontation between the treasury and the
opposition on any issue. The government wants a congenial atmosphere in
the Parliament to run the affairs of the country in a positive way, he
Brushing aside the impression that Prime Minister was
taking the charge of presidentship of the Pakistan Muslim League, Prime
Minister Shaukat Aziz made it clear that the party members were asking
him to become party president but he would not do so. "Parliament
will complete its term and there is no plan to make changes in the
assemblies," he said.
He said that PML was united under the leadership of
Ch. Shujaat Hussain and we were working happily under the guidance of
the party president. The government was committed to run the country in
a democratic way, therefore, it was initiating dialogue process with
opposition to create consensus among the opposition and treasury
benches. The call of the strike made by the opposition had failed to
draw response from the people and it has exposed opposition's confidence
before the masses, the PM said.
He said the government was committed to improve the
living standard of the masses and country's economic situation and in
this regard it was establishing vocational training institutions, which
would impart technical education. He denied legitimizing Israel as
sovereign and independent state and said that Pakistan's stance on
Palestine has not changed even after their Foreign Ministers' meeting in
Istanbul. He said that there was no question to establish trade links
with Israel unless the Palestine issue is resolved. Pakistan wants peace
in the world especially in South Asia so it was holding dialogue with
India. In this regard, President Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh met in New York to ease the tension between Pakistan and
India, he said. "Kashmir is the core issue between Pakistan and
India and we are confident that India is interested to resolve the
issue," he added.
The Prime Minister said the dialogue process will
continue when Manmohan Singh visits Pakistan and he meets the Indian
leadership at Shanghai, SAARC conference and Commonwealth Summit.
"Through these engagements we hope to keep on moving towards our
goal of finding solution to the mutual problems," he said.
About the election of the Deputy Chairman Senate,
Shaukat Aziz said it will be held very soon, however, he did not give
any definite date in this regard. The post of Deputy Chairman Senate is
lying vacant since Commander Khalil-ur-Rehman was made the Governor of
NWFP. He said the opposition in the Senate was not justified in
protesting and calling the proceedings illegal in the absence of the
Chairman or his deputy. Wasim Sajjad, Leader of the House in Senate, has
given a very comprehensive answer to opposition's apprehensions about
the house proceedings, he said.
Speaking as chief guest at the foundation stone
laying ceremony of Gwadar Industrial estate, Prime Minister announced
that the government has decided to construct a new international airport
at Gwadar with state-of-the-art facilities and according to the
world-class standard. Till the completion of the new international
airport the existing airport is being upgraded, and necessary facilities
were being provided so that there could be frequent communication
between Karachi and Gwadar. Gwadar will not only be an industrial hub,
but will also attract tourists since it has great potential for tourism.
He said that this is a historic day and pointed out
that six years ago when President General Pervez Musharraf took over the
power he saw a dream of making a world class port in Gwadar and added:
"today we are seeing this dream becoming a reality". The
President took up the matter of building Gwadar port with Prime Minister
of China who readily agreed to the proposal, so this port is a gift of
China. The Prime Minister said that the seaports change the destiny of
regions and countries.
He pointed out that six years ago, the President
promised roads for Gwadar and that promise has been fulfilled with the
construction of Coastal Highway which goes up to north and shall be a
crucial link for Afghanistan and Central Asia. He said, "We have to
open our minds and allow foreign investors to come up with their
investment which will usher in an era of prosperity and help create
employment opportunities". He said, in case the local skilled
labour was not available we should welcome with open-heart skilled
people from other regions for development, progress and prosperity of
Gwadar, which is not only in the interest of the people of Gwadar and
Balochistan, but also in the interest of Pakistan.
Shaukat Aziz announced that the federal government
will establish Export Processing Zone in Gwadar on fast tack basis and
will extend Coastal Highway up to Iran to promote trade and commerce
with it. In this connection, he said that import of gas from Iran will
transform Balochistan and a decision on gas pipeline project with Iran
after consideration of all aspects will be made in the national
In his speech at the ceremony the Prime Minister said
that the federal government was spending a record Rs. 134 billion on
mega projects for development in Balochistan. "This has never
happened in the history of Balochistan that such mega projects were ever
carried out in the province," Shaukat Aziz noted amid applause.
Addressing the launching ceremony of Pakistan Plan of
Action to implement SAARC Social Charter, the Prime Minister said
Pakistan is committed to promote regional and multi-lateral cooperation
having an objective to upscale the living standards of its people.
The action plan reviews major social issues relevant
to SAARC Social Charter and presents a corresponding national action
plan to address them. This plan is in consistence with the SAARC Plan of
Action on Poverty Alleviation adopted by the SAARC ministers of Finance
The Prime Minister said the South Asian region, which
consists of one-fifth of the world population has great potential to
grow and SAARC can play a vital role to make this region a true
developed area. SAARC needs to be re-energized and be taken more
seriously to make it a vibrant and effective organization working for
the progress and prosperity of its peoples, he added.
Pakistan, the Prime Minister said, is playing a vital
role for promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region and
global level because of its strategic location. Pakistan, for this
purpose, has initiated a composite dialogue with India to ensure durable
peace in the region that will allow us to dedicate more resources to the
social sectors and infrastructure, besides facilitating the flow of
investment that would help reduce unemployment and raising income level
of our people.
Mr. Shaukat Aziz said Pakistan is also committed to
follow the SAARC Action Plan and its Charter to meet the goals set by it
to improve the quality of life of the people. He referred to the
government efforts to reform economy and reduce poverty by improving
governance and implementing development plan in various sectors and said
all indications show that poverty has been arrested and hoped that it
will come down at the level of 13 percent by 2015.
Resolution of Kashmir issue remains vital for making
the SAARC a proactive organization, which has the capacity to resolve
regional issues through dialogue and mutual understanding. "It is
believed that by working together and sharing information, we can help
develop the whole region on sustainable basis." The developments of
the recent past are enough to show that there is strong willingness to
promote cooperation at the regional level. Even the traditional foes,
Pakistan and India, enjoy unprecedented good relations which is a
vindication of the fact that so far as the general people are concerned
they see the interest associated with promotion of peace and stability
in the region, he said.
Prime Minister met the provincial finance ministers
and members of the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award and discussed
with them the broad guidelines for an amicable settlement of the Award.
During the meeting held at the PM House, he said the federal government
desired that the resources be distributed in equitable manner so that
the pace of development is accelerated and the provinces have adequate
resources at their disposal to meet developing and recurring needs. This
has to be accompanied by good governance and better implementation of
development projects to achieve the desired results, he said, adding
that major focus of the government was on provision of basic necessities
of life like electricity, gas and clean drinking water to the people in
addition to improving the infrastructure, especially roads and highways.
Talking to Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Ms. Anne
McLellan, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said that Pakistan is committed to
the composite dialogue process with India and resolving all outstanding
issues through dialogue including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
The two leaders also discussed matters regarding peace and security and
ways and means to enhance trade and economic ties between the two
countries. They also discussed the need for a free trade agreement to
expand the economic relations.
The Prime Minster said that economic reforms carried
out by Pakistan during the last few years have made the country one of
the most open economies in the region where investors can do business
without any restrictions. He said Pakistan would welcome Canadian
investment and economic cooperation in the areas of power generation,
telecommunications, infrastructure, mining and exploration.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan said
Pakistan and Canada have a long-standing relationship and would continue
to cooperate in all areas to further strengthen their ties. She said
Canada through its international aid agency CIDA was playing an
important role in Pakistan and the two leaders discussed how to enhance
that relationship in the years to come. McLellan said Pakistan and
Canada have trade, security and communal links based on strong personal
relationship. She said Pakistan is a very important country not only in
the world but particularly in this region, and added "we want to
work with Pakistani government and its people on many fronts". She
appreciated President Pervez Musharraf's commitment in fighting the war
against terrorism. She said dealing with terrorism was a global
challenge and appreciated President Musharraf's very strong statements
in terms of his participation in the war against terrorism.
In an interview to a private TV Channel, Prime
Minister said Pakistan was fast moving ahead on its programme of
peaceful use of nuclear technology for power generation to meet the
country's growing energy needs. "Our nuclear programme for power
generation is moving at a fast pace and there will be further expansion
in it," he added. He said that Pakistan plans to add 8,800
megawatts of electricity by 030 through nuclear energy as domestic and
industrial demand for power continues to rise. Pakistan got assistance
from China for producing electricity through nuclear energy and would
also approach other countries including the United States in this
Responding to a question, the Prime Minister said
water was a national problem and the decision on the construction of
dams would be taken by taking the people into confidence. He said the
report submitted by AGN Abbasi Commission was being reviewed after which
a decision would be taken, adding, that the rights of provinces would be
Talking to the delegation of Thai investors
interested in Agri business, Prime Minister said there was a tremendous
potential for investment in poultry, fisheries, livestock, pesticides
and fertilizer sectors as Pakistan has a very vast agriculture base.
Pakistan is one of the few countries where there is no distinction
between domestic and foreign investors, he added.