Democracy Nascent, clash to be Disastrous

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday sought to reassure that Pakistan’s institutions are only undergoing a process of evolution and that there is no conflict amongst them.

Speaking at the launch of development projects in Gwadar, the prime minister emphasised the need for preventing conflict between the state institutions at any cost because it would result in destruction. “Pakistan has an independent and active judiciary and it has done its role very well. There is no conflict of authority among institutions. We have restored democracy after hard struggle, any clash could be disastrous,” the PM said. “We will have to understand who is interested in creating dissent and division among the institutions and who will gain from their division.”

The prime minister said that the judiciary has gained freedom after many sacrifices. About the Army, the prime minister said it has given everlasting sacrifices that every Pakistani is proud of. The Pakistan Army, he said, is playing a vital role for the security and development of the country. PM Raja said democracy had been derailed several times in the past and after numerous sacrifices it is now back on track. He expressed satisfaction that the first democratically elected government in the country is going to finish its full term in power. PM Raja however regretted that all this led to loss of precious time. “Democracy is still nascent and may still have all its weaknesses and problems, but it is gaining strength. We are passing through a phase of evolution and are trying to learn from our mistakes.”

He said that the Pakistani media has more freedom as compared to the developed countries. However, the media must demonstrate its ability to behave responsibly. He said the challenges the country is facing could be addressed with unity and greater understanding. The prime minister said that the Baloch are a patriotic and amiable people. He said the sense of deprivation among the Baloch should be ended for the prosperity and well being of the whole country. There are many factors which created this sense of deprivation and “I said in my first speech on the assembly floor that Balochistan’s progress is our first priority and I still mean it.” He said the present government has taken several steps to address Balochistan issues but a lot more needs to be done in this regard.

He said the apology tendered by President Asif Ali Zardari to the Baloch people is a clear manifestation that the government is alive to the situation in Balochistan. He said Balochistan being rich in natural resources is a very important province, adding that both the federal and provincial governments are striving for its development. The prime minister also announced a number of development projects in Gwadar. He said Gwadar is an important seaport of Pakistan. “It will have great contribution in progress of the country.” He said inauguration of Civic Centre and the expressway projects in Gwadar will go a long way in development of the area and the entire province.

Prime Minister Raja issued permanent employment letters to the temporary employees of the Gwadar Port Authority. He also announced the integration of the Gwadar Fish Harbour into the Gwadar Port Authority as well as laid down the foundation for East Bay Expressway. The Gwadar Civic Centre houses offices providing one-window operation for the port facilities. It has been designed to facilitate people under one roof by offering utilities like electricity, gas, telephone, passport and national identity card offices, banks and private shops. The building also has 12 residential apartments for government officers. The laying of the foundation stone of East Bay Expressway was also attended by Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Minister for Port and Shipping Babar Khan Ghauri, Adviser on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain, Minister for Science and Technology Changez Jamali and federal and provincial ministers.

The prime minister announced that all funds for Balochistan in the Public Sector Development Programme be released without any delay. He said work on M-8 to link the Port with the rest of the country would be taken up soon. He declared status of Gwadar as “big city” and announced regularisation of all daily wage earners of the Ports and Shipping and merger of Gwadar Airport into the Gwadar Port Authority. APP adds: Prime Minister Raja also inaugurated Rs 6 billion Optic Fibre Project which will provide best Information Technology facilities to all tehsils of the Balochistan province.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, he said that the present government has initiated several development projects in Balochistan to provide basic amenities of life to the local people and to bring them at par with the rest of the country. He said provision of amenities will remove the sense of deprivation among the local people. The prime minister said it is the top priority of the government to provide basic facilities to remote and backward areas of the country, adding this IT project, initiated by the federal government, has opened a new chapter for the uplift of Balochistan and the Baloch people. – Nation