Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday said free fair and transparent elections were essential for democracy, security and development of the country. “Only the elected representatives can set appropriate direction for the country that is economically sustainable, socially and politically acceptable,” the Prime Minister said in his address to the meeting of federal cabinet. The Prime Minister said the democratic government was nearing completion of its tenure and termed it an important milestone in the country’s history. He on behalf of the cabinet, appreciated the role of provincial governments, civil servants, the armed forces and the security agencies who extended full cooperation in serving the country and its people in last five years.
He mentioned the recent attacks in Peshawar and Karachi, which indicated that terrorists were making last ditch efforts to demoralize innocent people by their cowardly acts.
Prime Minister Raja Ashraf said he was sad at the unfortunate incident of criminal attack at the Christian colony in Lahore.
Christians are equal citizens of the land and must be given complete protection, he said.
He said minorities in Pakistan were enjoying equal rights as per commitment of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the teachings of Islam.
He said the government would not allow anybody to take law into his hands.
“I assure my Christian brothers and sisters that their losses of properties would be made good jointly by the federal and provincial government. I further assure that the culprits, responsible for this inhuman act will get exemplary punishment,” he added.
Raja Ashraf said Islam teaches tolerance and assures protection of life and property of all its citizens without discrimination.
He urged the Ulema to help the government in promoting religious harmony and elimination of intolerance. Such acts of violence convey wrong signals that depict a negative image of our society before the international community.
The federal cabinet expressed its solidarity with Christians and all minorities as a mark of respect towards them.
On energy situation, the Prime Minister said the government had been working on multiple fronts to achieve energy security for the country.
He mentioned that the government therefore had formally kicked off the long awaited $ 7.5 billion Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project aimed at addressing the energy crisis in Pakistan.
He said the project would not only boost the economies of both the countries but also bring prosperity to the entire region.
“Given the importance to energy resources for our economy, the project would be completed on an expeditious basis in the national interest of Pakistan,” he said.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the major steps taken by the government in national interest would draw the contours for future history and “will Insha’Allah provide us another chance to serve this country and its people more effectively.”