Caretaker prime minister chairs first cabinet meeting n Says full force of the law will be applied to those who infringed upon sacrosanctity of state's emblems on May 9 n Vows to implement former govt's commitments; ensure rule of law, financial discipline n Caretaker govt to assist ECP in holding free and fair elections n Solangi says we can’t afford selling petrol at low prices after buying at high prices.
ISLAMABAD - Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar Friday vowed to comply with the commitments made by the previous government on national and international levels with different forums, besides ensuring rule of law and financial discipline during the interim period.
"We do not have perpetual mandate to serve the nation but during the given allocated time we will try to lay foundation where we have sense of continuation of national and international commitments that the previous government has made with different forums," he said while talking to the cabinet members here during the first cabinet meeting of the caretaker government.
With respect to a new initiative-Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), launched by former government, the prime minister said the caretaker government would fully support it. He said SIFC is ‘a dream comes true’ project as Pakistan was an agriculture country and rich with mineral resources.
He said in fact SIFC was not a new idea but it was an old national dream that was going to be materialised now.
“Day has arrived when with the support of all institutions including Pakistan military leadership, we support, facilitate, encourage, and realise this old national dream.” He said this initiative was not held by any institution but it was collectively owned by around 250 million people of the country. “We all own it and we will contribute towards it.”
During the meeting, he individually acknowledged the services of all the cabinet members saying “I am very proud that we have got one of the best team”.
He hoped that the Almighty Allah would enable them to lead and steer this nation during the interim period.
“With our utmost duty, maybe it is a month, two or three, or three and a half, whatever the allocated time is, we will demonstrate through our actions not by our words,” he added.
With regard to the economic situation in the country, the prime minister said he was well aware of the huge economic challenges but with an able team, the government would ensure the financial discipline.
“We have a sense of sanctity of tax payers’ money. This money on which we are having today’s meeting, using resources or traveling, is paid by the people of Pakistan,” he added.
He said either it was an ordinary vender, shopkeeper, teacher, lawyer or any other person, all were contributing in this regard. PM Kakar said in this polarized environment, the government would try to differentiate between politics and law.
He said the government would ensure that rule of order was not compromised in any way and the rule of order would lead us towards the rule of law.
“We know the sanctity of the order that will be kept at any cost. Pakistan is owned and shared by all ethnicities, all creeds, and all religious background,” he added. He highlighted that the rigidity, be it in any form in the society, would be strongly discouraged.
He said rigidity might come in the garb of religion or secularism or in any other form, these extreme attitudes would be discourage and would be controlled by the law.
He said the minorities would stay protected in this country and any attempt to harm them from a section of marginalized group of people would be responded strictly by the state and the society. He said the miscreants might be from us but we must have to divorce them and keep distant from them. He said Pakistan was created on noble principles and the country was the product of noble idea.
Speaking about the incident of May 9, the prime minister explicitly expressed disappointment and discomfort over the sabotage activities happened on the day. He said attack on the military installation was like the country’s immune system was attacked which could lead towards fatality.
“We do not just condemn it but we also will ensure that justice will be done and whosoever violated laws on those days will be treated according to law and there will not be any favour to anybody “, he added. On Kashmir issue, the prime minister “It was the core issue which could not be ignored. “It lies in our soul, for us Kashmir is eternal.”
Following the cabinet meeting, caretaker PM Kakar said that his government would ensure that justice is meted out to those behind May violence. “We will ensure that justice is meted out to those involved in the May 9 attacks. Full force of the law will be applied to those who infringed upon the sacrosanctity of the state’s emblems on that day,” he said on twitter.
Meanwhile, Caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi said on Friday that holding general elections was the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Federal Government would fulfill its duty to assist the watchdog in that regard.
Addressing his maiden press conference as information minister, he said the entire caretaker cabinet would try hard to fulfill responsibilities under the oath and in accordance with the law and Constitution.
The minister spoke with the media to inform them about the first meeting of the Federal Cabinet chaired by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
Murtaza Solangi said he had held a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Raja Sikandar Sultan and apprised him about the commitment of the Federal Cabinet regarding assistance in holding free elections in the country and implementing the ECP recommendations for necessary transfer and posting of officials in that regard.
He said the cabinet decided that on the election day, the first vote would be cast by the caretaker prime minister and then by the ministers.
The minister said the country would be ultimately run by the elected representatives of the people as was envisaged in the Constitution of Pakistan and the caretaker government would look after the affairs only till the elections.
He said that the cabinet decided to reduce the government’s spending in view of the prevailing economic conditions, and it was also the government’s responsibility not to waste taxpayers’ money.
“ We cannot afford to buy petroleum products at high prices and sell them at low prices,” he said, adding as per the agreement with International Monetary Fund, the government could not subsidze commodities.
Solangi said the state with its power stood with the minorities and no one would be allowed to victimize them in the name of religion, colour or caste. Islam granted special rights to the minorities and those responsible for the Jaranwala incident would be brought to justice, he vowed.
Pakistan, he said, was a country of 250 million people, who all had equal human rights.
The cabinet stressed on promoting Sufism in the country to counter extremism, narrow-mindedness and intolerance prevailing in the society, he added.
He said everyone expressed grief and sorrow over the Jaranwala incident and steps were being taken to ensure protection of the minorities.
The minister said Prime Minister Kakar emphasized on building infrastructure in the country.
Replying to media persons’ questions, Solangi said poverty and inflation were a reality and nobody could deny that fact. It was also a fact that hike in the petroleum products’ prices also caused inflation but the government’s hands were tied due to the IMF’s standby arrangement.
He assured the media that the government would cut its expenditure to reduce burden on the national exchequer.
Answering a question about the ongoing legal cases against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership, he said the matter was sub judice. The government was not a party to those cases and the relevant institutions were performing their duties as per law.
To another question, he said the media and educational institutions had to play an important role in promoting tolerance and harmony in the society to avert Jaranwala like incidents in the future.
He said it was the responsibility of every government, including the caretaker setup, to take steps for strengthening the economy, and improving law and order situation.
Replying to a query, he said the caretaker cabinet comprised only 16 members, besides a half dozen advisers and special assistants. Most of the cabinet members represented their respective fields and hopefully they would prove their worth with their performance, he added.
Murtaza Solangi reiterated that the caretaker government did not believe in any gag on the media and would take steps to ensure freedom of expression in the country.
Principal Information Officer and APP Managing Director Muhammad Asim Khichi was also present during the press conference.