- Nawaz Sharif refuses to answer when asked if govt and military leadership are on the same page on national issues
- Says CJP Anwar Zaheer Jamali empowered to make changes in TORs of Panama Probe commission
- Calls those opposing agenda of development, prosperity enemies of the country
- Last phase of LG polls will be completed by May through devolution of powers at grass-roots level
Hinting that all’s not well between the civil government and the military establishment, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday refused to comment when asked by a senior journalist whether the two institutions were on the same page on national issues.
The prime minister had summoned an interaction with a select group of senior journalists and columnists at Governor’s House to brief them about his government’s development projects and its stance on the Panama Papers revelations.
During the question answer session after a briefing by the PM and other government officials, renowned journalist and Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami asked the prime minister about the status of the relationship between the civil and military leaderships. However, instead of responding to the question himself, the premier asked Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique to reply to Nizami’s query. The railways minister tried his best to come up with a satisfactory reply but it was obvious that there is a serious difference of opinion between the two sides.
A close aide of PM Nawaz later confided that the premier avoided the question for the obvious reason that the government was not on the same page with the military leadership.
Earlier addressing the meeting, PM Nawaz said that the commission formed to probe the Panama Leaks could initiate investigation of the matter from him if it intended to.
He said he had written a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan about formation of the commission, and added that Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali could make changes in the Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the commission proposed by the government. Sharif also insisted that no scandal of the incumbent government had surfaced and that it had the support of the people of Pakistan.
The prime minister made it clear that his government did not fear accountability, saying that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf could not find the PML-N guilty of any wrongdoing in nine years of his rule.
Referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, the PM said that those asking for “their turn” were unaware that they would not get their turn in this manner. He also said he would not let anyone cease the process of development and prosperity in the country.
“Except for one party, all other political parties are behaving maturely,” he said.
Briefing the participants about the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline agreement, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Pakistan would not go ahead with the deal unless the US lifts the sanctions on Tehran completely.
“Until then the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project will remain a pipe dream,” he said.
National Highway Authority Chairman Shahid Tarrar said that work on laying the road network for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would be completed by 2018.
In his briefing, Water and Power Secretary Younis Dhaga said that the government would be able to overcome electricity load shedding by January 2018.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE:
Earlier, PM Nawaz Sharif, while chairing an important meeting at the Governor’s House, vowed to devolve powers at the grass-root level in true spirit.
He said that those opposing the agenda of development and prosperity were the enemies of the country and their politics of allegations and agitation was also rejected by the people.
The PM, on the occasion, reiterated his government’s resolve to provide basic amenities of life to the people. “The masses will be provided education, health and other facilities and I will personally monitor it all,” he added.
The government, Sharif said, believed in public service and the benefits of development would be transferred to the masses in the next two years.
He said the development projects pertaining to gas, electricity and infrastructure would be completed by 2018, and power outages would be eliminated during the next two years.
The premier said that the last phase of the local government elections would be completed by May this year. Amongst others the meeting was also attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Governor Rafique Rajwana, the chief secretary, Punjab Police chief and secretaries of other departments. The meeting also took stock of the progress made in the various ongoing development projects.