Immediate polls or tough steps? decision today

May 17, 2022

Shehbaz initiated the consultation process with coalition parties for taking important decisions with regard to the deteriorating economy and uncertain political situation

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PM Shehbaz Sharif in a meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Islamabad on May 16, 2022. Photo: PID

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday convened an important meeting of the coalition partners on Tuesday (today) to discuss whether immediate elections should be announced or the government should opt for taking difficult decisions on the economic front.

Shehbaz Sharif held separate meetings with MQMP Convener Khalid Maqbool, JUIF chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. He held these meetings in view of the economic and political situation of the country. He initiated the consultation process with coalition parties for taking important decisions with regard to the deteriorating economy and uncertain political situation.

In these meetings, PM Shehbaz Sharif discussed devaluation of rupee against dollar, bearish trend in the stock market, delay in deal with IMF, fixing prices of petroleum products and the general elections with the allied parties. It was decided in the meetings that all the decisions would be taken in consultation with the coalition parties and, in this regard, a meeting has been convened on Tuesday (today).

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On the other hand, MQMP suggested PM Shehbaz to announce elections in view of the present situation of the country. In the meeting with prime minister, MQMP Convener Khalid Maqbool held that early election is the solution to all the crises being faced by the country.

Khalid Maqbool said that a fresh mandate from the masses should be taken as delay in this regard would prove to be detrimental. He said that census should be held in June instead of August and election reforms could be done within a week. He said if timely decisions were not taken, economic situation would become worse in the coming time. The MQMP leader also suggested legislation pertaining to the COAS tenure and extension. He defended the nomination of Nasreen Jalil as Sindh governor.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif decided to hold consultations with coalition parties on the suggestions put forward by the MQMP. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif welcomed the support of allied political parties for implementation of reforms by the government and termed their role vital in decisions of national interest.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang held a comprehensive telephonic conversation. "The talks between the two leaders were marked by traditional warmth and cordiality, which is the hallmark of Pakistan-China relationship," a statement issued from the Prime Minister's Office said.

Both Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Premier Li Keqiang shared the view that the Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership must continue to serve the vital interests of the peoples of the two countries, as well as the broader interests of peace and stability amidst the evolving regional and global milieu.

To this end, the two leaders agreed to enhance the momentum of exchanges to take bilateral cooperation to even higher levels. The prime minister offered his condolences to the government and the people of China and expressed sympathies with the families of victims of the heinous terrorist attack that took place at the Karachi University on April 26, 2022, in which three Chinese scholars lost their lives.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm resolve to hold a thorough investigation, to apprehend the perpetrators of this criminal act and to bring them to justice in accordance with law.

The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan attached the highest importance to the safety, security and protection of all the Chinese nationals working in Pakistan on economic projects and institutions. The prime minister assured Primer Li that his government was determined to take all necessary measures for enhanced security and safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan.

The two premiers also discussed in detail bilateral matters, while agreeing that Pakistan and China would not allow anyone to harm the time-tested All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries.

The prime minister thanked China for its firm support to Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national development and reaffirmed his government’s unwavering support to China on all issues of its core interest. The prime minister affirmed his government’s firm resolve to fast-track both the ongoing as well as the new projects under the transformational China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which had immensely contributed to the socio-economic development of Pakistan and also realise its high-quality development.

The prime minister underscored the need for both sides to work together and enhance cooperation between the agencies concerned of the two countries to fully operationalise the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at an early date.

While recalling Pakistan-China sister-city partnerships, the prime minister expressed his desire to learn from the experience of those Chinese officials who have remained instrumental in setting up SEZs in their provinces. The prime minister also expressed his commitment to working with renewed zeal and enthusiasm, in concert with China, especially on projects of strategic significance for both the countries, such as ML-1 project.

While emphasising people-to-people contacts, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also conveyed sentiments of the families of the Pakistani students who were desirous of returning to China for resumption of their studies. Premier Li assured the prime minister of China’s readiness to enhance economic cooperation, expand trade and encourage greater investments from China to Pakistan.

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