Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf addressing the members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries. — Photo by INP

KARACHI: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday announced categorically that the general election would be held on time in accordance with the Constitution in a fair, free and transparent manner.

“No one can derail democracy now and if anyone tried to create obstacle in the way of timely election he would have to face the wrath of the nation,” he warned.

The prime minister, who addressed a luncheon hosted by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry at a hotel, said “the elections are a trust of the nation and the government is determined to follow the constitutional procedure”.

He stressed the need for continuation of the political process in order to strengthen democracy and so that the parliament became strong enough to protect every citizen.

He said it was a good omen that an elected government was about to complete its term for the first time in the country’s history in the face of heavy odds stacked against it.

Referring to the law and order problem, he said: “Only a stable democratic order and a sovereign parliament can address lawlessness and terrorism.”

Raja Pervez Ashraf was confident that if democracy was allowed to take root, the situation would change for the better one day. “You are free to vote for the party of your choice as the road to change is people’s rule.”

He said his party was determined to hold elections without delay of even one day.

PPP AND BUSINESS: The prime minister took exception to observations that the PPP government was not business-friendly, arguing that on the contrary, whenever PPP had been in power it always encouraged the business community.

He praised Karachi’s business community for making the biggest contribution to the state’s revenue. “There is a need to create a conducive atmosphere for pursuit of trade and economic activities to put the country on the road to progress and prosperity.”

Turning to the media, Raja Ashraf said the opposition was always appreciative of the media, but after coming to power, the situation becomes different. “Although media lampoons our government, no one will ever spot a wrinkle on our forehead.”

Talking about distribution of resources among the provinces, he said the centre had so far given one trillion rupees to federating units. After completion of the Thar coal power project, no unit would be allowed to run on imported coal.

The prime minister referred to the Sept 11 factory fire in Karachi, agreeing with the business community that the case did not come within the purview of section 302 of the penal code. He asked the Sindh chief secretary to reconsider the case.

Earlier, leaders of the business fraternity, Siraj Qasim Teli, Haroon Agar and Motiwala, Adviser to the Singh chief minister, highlighted problems being faced by the business community due to lawlessness, terrorism, and the energy crisis.

They also referred to the garments factory tragedy in which over 260 precious lives were lost, regretting that registration of a case under Section 302 had frightened investors, requesting a review.

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