ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid Tuesday urged Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to come back to the Parliament and play its role in parliamentary politics.
Speaking in a current affairs programme of a news channel, he said, people gave mandate to PTI in the 2013 elections for resolving their problems and raise their issues in the Parliament by putting questions before the government for welfare projects of a common man.
But, PTI opted against the public mandate and went out of the Parliament, he regretted.
The government would give answer of every single query of PTI, if the queries were made at the appropriate forum, which was the Parliament.
He said Pakistan could not afford the politics of confrontation and that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had been making efforts to remove mis-perceptions of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from day one.
It was evident from the fact that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had written a letter for the formation of the Judicial Commission before August 14 to probe the allegations of rigging in 2013 General Elections, he said.
“PTI even had not started the long-march and staged sit-in, when the Prime Minister announced the judicial commission to resolve the issue amicably,” the Minister added.
Pervaiz Rashid welcomed the agreement on terms of references (ToRs) between the government and PTI teams on formation of the Judicial Commission.
The Prime Minister, Pervaiz Rashid said, was always forthcoming to remove mis-perceptions of PTI, adding “Finance Minister Ishaq Dar moved forward the spirit exhibited by the Prime Minister by giving it a practical shape in the form of achieving unanimity on ToRs.”
He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken all parliamentary leaders into confidence about the ToRs of Judicial Commission agreed between the government and PTI.
He said all the parliamentary parties have appreciated the agreement on ToRs and their leaders were of the view that it would help strengthen democracy in the country.
PTI, he said, had not made the allegations, which it had been leveling in public meetings like illegal printing of ballot papers, alleged role of Returning Officers and the speech of PML-N leader, part of their petitions filed before different election tribunals.
He said PTI candidates had been filing complaints against individuals alleging rigging in their respective constituencies but they could prove nothing.
Replying to a question, Pervaiz Rashid said the matter regarding incorrect filling of the form 14 or its non-availability at some polling stations falls in jurisdiction of Election Tribunals (ETs).
He said several individual petitions were being heard by ETs but nothing could be proved with regard to rigging in the general elections.
However, the government was duty-bound to satisfy the persons filing rigging complaints at any forum, he added.
To a question, he clarified that ETs would continue their proceedings in the petitions filed by individuals and that the Judicial Commission would work within its parameters.
To another question, the Minister said there were threats to almost all political parties participating in 2013 general elections, adding, PML-N itself received a letter from the concerned security department to avoid holding a public meeting, which was the last gathering of the party campaign.
“The threat was not party specific rather all the political parties were facing the same situation,” he added.
When asked about the issuance of ordinance for the formation of Judicial Commission, he said it could not be promulgated when the Parliament was in session.
As soon as the ongoing session of the National Assembly would come to an end, the ordinance would be issued.
Regarding Liquefied Natural Gas agreement with Qatar, the minister said it would be on government-to-government level, whose rate was yet to be decided.
The agreement would be transparent and nothing would be kept secret, he added.
The Ministry of Petroleum, he said, had received no letter from Transparency International, however the government was ready to answer all objections.
The LNG agreement was as per the PPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority) rules and there was no violation of them, he added.
He said the PML-N government was making sincere efforts to mitigate sufferings of the common man, adding “The government is serving the country and nation with honesty and sincerity.”
The economic indicators of the country were in positive direction.
The revenue was increased by 13 per cent, foreign reserves had reached 15 to 16 billion US dollars while remittances from overseas Pakistanis had also raised considerably, the minister mentioned.
“These are all due to the vision and policies of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hard work of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar,” Pervaiz added.
International community was also appreciating the economic growth of Pakistan, he said and quoted a report of an international journal Bloomberg that “beyond negative headlines he (Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) also managed to start turning around the economy.”
Regarding advertisements of price comparison of the current fiscal year with the corresponding year, he said it was the responsibility of the government to aware masses about the actual prices of commodities so that they could argue with shopkeepers, if they were over-charged.