ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has said that fair and transparent elections are the need of the hour and all the political and religious parties will be taken on board for the formation of the interim set-up.
Talking to a delegation led by Chaudhry Javed Iqbal and comprising expatriate Pakistanis based in London who called on him at the PM House on Saturday evening, the PM said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) believed that expatriate Pakistanis should not only have the right to vote but also be eligible to become members of parliament.
He said that since granting the right of representation to expatriate Pakistanis who hold dual nationality involves an amendment in the Constitution, the PPP could not bring about the change as it does not have the required numerical strength in parliament. He further said the government is still striving to bring about a consensus so that the Constitution can be amended and expatriate Pakistanis given the right to contest elections. “The PPP needs to convince its coalition partners who, while fully being supportive and cognisant of the role of Pakistanis abroad for the progress and development of the country, have somehow shown reservations to amend the Constitution.
The PM said that Pakistanis abroad sent their hard earned money to Pakistan because of their love for their country of origin adding that remittances being sent by them are on the rise. He said this is very helpful in stabilising the economy. He said that we have faced many challenges in the last four-and-a-half years and are now completing our tenure and getting ready for the next elections.
Talking of inflation in the country, he said the increase in the prices of oil in the international market is one of the main reasons for rising prices in the country.
The prime minister said that PPP and its coalition partners are committed to a transparent, free and impartial election in the country.
He said that in the past four-and-a-half years, Pakistan had faced floods, terrorism and an international economic crunch because of the slowdown in the global economy. “Yet, we have to move forward and have been able to make achievements like the passage of the 18th amendment, granting more political autonomy to the provinces and a transfer of resources to them,” he added.
Members of the delegation thanked the PM for sparing time to meet them and assured him of all their cooperation.