Raja ventures into reconciliation

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

LAHORE: While maintaining that the PPP government is committed to free and fair elections in the country, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday invited the opposition parties for consultation over the appointment of a new chief election commissioner (CEC).

“The opposition should come forward to evolve consensus over selection of a new CEC which is vital for the smooth and reliable electoral process,” he said while addressing the PPP Punjab Executive Committee meeting at the Governor’s House.Rejecting the politics of confrontation amongst the institutions and political parties, the prime minister said it was detrimental to the cause of democracy including the opposition as well as the institutions. He said all institutions could play their positive role by working within their constitutionally defined ambit.

Raja said the PPP would continue to follow politics of reconciliation in the light of the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and the Charter of Democracy (CoD) to ensure respect and mandate of all political parties.“I hold the governments of Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Baluchistan in high esteem and respect their mandates,” the prime minister added, as he welcomed the Punjab government’s gesture of officially receiving him on his arrival in the provincial metropolis.

Talking about the government’s priorities, Raja said overcoming the energy crisis was the top most priority of his government, adding that power shortfall had been reduced a great deal due to the recent initiatives by the government.He said the PPP-led government had completed record development projects during the past four years, adding that the restoration of the 1973 Constitution, passage of the Aghaz-e Haqooq-e-Baluchistan and provincial autonomy were the salient achievements of the present government.

Raja said democracy was the best antidote to the problems like terrorism, energy crisis, poverty and intolerance in the country. He said the PPP had always worked for strengthening of institutions.He said the PPP-led government would develop consensus on all issues and all political forces along on issues of national and international importance.The PM said the next general elections would be held on time, showing optimism that the PPP would sweep the polls.

He dedicated his election as prime minister to the PPP philosophy, vision of PPP Co-Chairman President Asif Ali Zardari, coalition partners and party workers, adding that he was proud of PPP philosophy and democratic struggle spanning over a period of five decades.Earlier, the PPP Punjab Executive Committee felicitated Raja on his election as premier, expressing the hope that he would continue to work for the cause of the party as well as the workers

The meeting offered fateha for the departed souls of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Fauzia Wahab as well as martyrs of Liaquat Bagh and Karachi blasts, adding that their sacrifices would be marked in golden words.It paid glowing tributes to former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani’s fidelity with the PPP, adding that he wrote new tales of faithfulness for the generations to come.

The meeting was attended by Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, federal ministers Qamar Zaman Kaira, Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Samina Khalid Ghurki, PPP Punjab President Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz Ahmed, PPP Punjab Women President Beelum Husnain, Faiza Malik, Sajida Mir and other party leaders from across Punjab.

Later, the premier listened and shared views with the PPP Punjab Executive Committee members.Meanwhile, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf visited Data Darbar and laid a floral wreath on the grave of the great Sufi saint of the sub-continent, Hazrat Ali Hajveri.  He also attended a wedding ceremony in the family of Federal Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal. – Nation