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Baldia Town factory inferno can’t be ignored, says Nawaz

PM says all legal requirements will be fulfilled; to visit Karachi tomorrow; instead of improving ratings, media should work to resolve national issues for next two years; hints at foreign hand behind terror in country; addresses CPNE meeting

By our correspondents
February 15, 2015
LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said the case of the Baldia Town factory inferno, which claimed nearly 300 lives, could not be ignored.
Addressing a meeting of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) here, Nawaz said he had received the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report of the Baldia Town factory fire incident.
“All the legal requirements will be fulfilled in the Baldia Town tragedy,” the prime minister said. He said his government would eliminate terrorism from Karachi, which is the country’s business hub.
“A targeted operation is continuing successfully in Karachi and the law and order situation there has improved to a great extent,” he added. Nawaz Sharif said he would visit Karachi on Monday to review the law and order situation in the city.
The PM called upon the media to extend its cooperation to the government in implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) to rid the country of terrorism. He said the plan had been chalked out with the consensus of all political parties and the military leadership.
The PM said the military operation against the terrorists was progressing successfully and it would continue till the elimination of the last terrorist. He said terror acts could not deter our resolve to fight the menace and establish permanent peace in the country.
The PM said the involvement of a foreign hand in terrorist acts in the country could not be ruled out. He said our relations with Afghanistan are better now and we will jointly work for the elimination of terrorism. Nawaz said the government will discuss all issues with India, and will endeavour to resolve serious issues on a priority basis.
Referring to his telephonic conversation with the Indian prime minister, he said India had suspended talks and has now expressed its desire to send its foreign secretary to Islamabad. He said we will welcome the Indian foreign secretary for talks on all issues.
The premier said instead of only focusing on improving ratings, the country’s media should unite on national issues and work towards resolving them during the next two years. “The media plays a key role in the development of a country and its independence is as important as the independence of the judiciary,” the premier stressed.
Spelling out the responsibilities of the institution, the prime minister said the media should refrain from disrespecting anyone and should report impartially. He said it should make a code of conduct for itself, and the government will extend its cooperation in this regard.
Appreciating the work of journalists, the PM said they have always supported democracy and helped the government in difficult times. “I continue respecting those journalists who abide by the Constitution,” he added.
The PM said some journalists supported the dictatorship of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Similarly, he said the role of some media houses during the PTI-PAT sit-ins was also not up to the established norms of journalism. As a result of these sit-ins, several leaders of friendly states postponed their visits.
He said some media houses also worked against democracy, for which they should be held accountable by the media itself.
The PM asked the media not to indulge in a race for ratings and play a balanced and constructive role on issues of national security.
Speaking about the sit-ins held across the country, the premier said he never understood their purpose, adding that they badly affected the economy of Pakistan.
“One of the grieved protesters has already left the country,” he said, referring to Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri.
He said Pakistan wants to bring gas from Iran and Turkmenistan which will be used in power plants and help in power generation.
The PM said the government was making all-out efforts to overcome the electricity shortage within its tenure. He said in this regard, it has decided to generate 3,600 megawatts electricity through LNG. For this purpose, one hundred billion rupees will be allocated each year to the Public Sector Development Programme. He said it is our utmost effort to provide low-cost electricity to the domestic and industrial sectors.
The prime minister also announced Rs50 million for the Endowment Fund of the CNPE.
The PM also extended his best wishes to the Pakistan cricket team in its first encounter in the ICC World Cup 2015 with India on Sunday. He said the entire nation was praying for the success of the team.