THARPARKAR: Parliament is the mother of all institutions of the country and the independence being enjoyed by the judiciary is because of a stable democracy, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said here on Thursday.
Addressing a gathering here after visiting the Thar coal project, he said that despite conspiracies, the present government is striving hard to provide maximum facilities to the masses and has launched a number of development schemes for their welfare. He said his government would not flee and would accept the verdict of the people.
He said that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had urged the party not to indulge in any confrontation with other parties and work with them to resolve national issues with consensus and through a policy of reconciliation. He said it was in this spirit that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) formed the government with the support of its allies despite rumours that it would not be long-lasting.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said it was a proud moment for the government to have presented its fifth budget. He underlined the need for promotion of the politics of reconciliation based on peace, love and affection instead of the politics of confrontation, which always created misunderstanding among the people in the past.
“The politics of reconciliation envisioned by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is being followed strictly by the present PPP government under the dynamic leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari. We learned the lesson of democracy from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, and President Asif Ali Zardari through his efforts has proved that the PPP always struggled for the strengthening of democracy and the provision of basic rights for the common man,” he said.
“When the present PPP government came into power, propaganda was unleashed that it would not be able to survive for long but the people of the country witnessed that the present government set a record of presenting and passing five annual budgets of the country,” he added.
The prime minister said all political forces should now prepare for the upcoming general elections. He said the PPP always believed in free, fair and impartial elections and whichever political party wins, it would accept the results. He said the present government in consultation with the opposition appointed the chief election commissioner and all other issues related to the holding of free and fair elections would also be resolved in a similar fashion.
The prime minister said all democratic institutions should realise their responsibilities and work for a strengthening the democracy. He said the institutions should accept each other and work for the betterment of the country. He said the leaders and workers of the PPP always rendered sacrifices for the restoration of democracy and in this regard they suffered incarceration, torture and death but never bowed before dictators.
“The party will live up to its traditions in the same spirit in future as well. The PPP does not need to take lessons of politics and democracy from others as no one else is more conversant with them,” he said.
The prime minister said thanks to the policies of the present PPP government, the crisis of acute shortage of wheat was overcome and now the country has surplus wheat. Similarly, he said, the country is moving rapidly in addressing other issues like the energy crisis.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said the PPP is the only political party in which the leadership has full confidence in party workers and is giving them their due rights. He said it was the confidence of the party leadership that he has been made chief executive of the country. Patience, tolerance and sacrifices are principles of the PPP and he is proud that he is its worker, he said.
The prime minister announced full support of the federal government for the ambitious Thar coal project, aimed at helping the country meet its energy shortages. He also announced an amount of Rs200 million for development projects in the area including provision of electricity. He also announced setting up of an IT centre in every town to impart basic computer education to the children.
The prime minister, who was earlier given a detailed briefing by Dr Samar Mubarakmand about the gasification project to generate electricity from coal, also announced one-month salary as bonus for all those working on the project.
Prime Minister Ashraf was accompanied by Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah, Minister for Defence Syed Naveed Qamar, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Adviser on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain.
The prime minister said the completion of this project would attract investors from around the world and would generate massive economic activity. He said the Thar coal was a bounty of Allah Almighty that would bring about a revolutionary change in the lives of the people of the area.
He lauded Dr Samar Mubarakmand for working on the gasification project without drawing any salary. “I appreciate Dr Samar for working here with a national commitment and without any monetary incentives.”
The prime minister said the initial estimates put two billion barrels of diesel in one block only. The coal reservoirs, he said, could be used to produce urea fertilizer, diesel, electricity and gas. He said three companies were currently working here, while many other international organisations were keen to join hands.
He said the people of Thar have the first right on the coal reservoirs and their right has been strengthened further after the passage of the 18th constitutional Amendment. He said the local people would also have priority in jobs on the project.
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah said the initiation of new projects for power generation were vital for strengthening the national economy. He said it would encourage foreign investors to launch new industries in Pakistan. Prime Minister Ashraf was also presented a Sindhi Ajrak and cap.