Government to ensure free, fair elections: Raja

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Thursday the government would ensure free, fair and transparent elections so that the democratic institutions were further strengthened in the country.

Talking to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MPAs from southern Punjab, who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House, Raja said the PPP believed in politics of reconciliation and consultation and had taken all the political forces on board on major issues of national importance. He said this policy had evolved a new culture in the political arena, which would go a long way in strengthening democratic institutions in the country. He expressed the confidence that the government would ensure free, fair and transparent elections so that the democratic institutions were further strengthened in the country.

PPP Women Wing President Faryal Talpur, Minister for Textile Industry Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Minister for Climate Change Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan, AJK President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, and PPP Punjab President Chaudhry Imtiaz Safdar Warraich were also present during the meeting.

Dilating upon the achievements of the present government, the prime minister said that despite challenges it was able to achieve major milestones in its four-and-a-half year in power, including the passage of 18th, 19th and 20th constitutional amendments, strengthening of democratic institutions, economic stability, enactment of the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package and the 7th NFC Award.

He said the allocation of more resources to the provinces had increased their role in socio-economic activities and removed sense of deprivation among the people. The prime minister said record development schemes had been undertaken by the present government. He urged the legislators to sensitise people about the difficult ground realities of the time when the government took over and the magnitude of development work it had undertaken, so that people could appreciate its achievements.

Separately, while addressing the prize distribution ceremony for the position holders of the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) examinations and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) of Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE), at the PM’s Secretariat, Raja stressed for imparting quality education to students and said progress of a nation depends on its youth, which is highly educated in science and engineering.

The prime minister said unless quality education was imparted to young children, the nation would not be able to achieve a respectable place in the world. He said the youth of today was to provide the country’s future leadership and added education could help them take prudent decisions to steer the country ahead. He said education in engineering and sciences was vital to help them succeed in a highly competitive world.

Raja stressed the role of teachers in helping their students distinguish between the right and wrong. He also urged the parents and religious scholars to inculcate in the students a positive approach towards their lives. He regretted that some anti-state elements were busy in luring young minds for their nefarious activities, adding that education was the only way to save them falling prey to the extremist mindset.

The prime minister said education was now a provincial subject, yet the federal government was fully aware of its responsibilities in this regard. He said it was unfortunate that around four million children still, including a large proportion of girls, had no access to education. He expressed his concern over the issue and said urgent measures were being taken to ensure that all young children get the requisite education.

Raja said the government was committed to the successful achievement of the Millennium Development Goals 2015 and would utilise all available resources in this regard. The prime minister paid rich tributes to young Malala Yousufzai and her fellow students who were attacked by unidentified terrorists in Mingora. He lauded their courage and valour, and urged students and the nation to pray for their early recovery. – Dailytimes