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FAISALABAD: Though the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has not thought about early elections, but if it has to go for it, as its chairman and Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted at, the party would emerge victorious again, says the PTI stalwart Jahangir Khan Tareen here on Tuesday.

Talking to reporters at the residence of Punjab social welfare minister Ajmal Cheema, Mr Tareen, however, said the premier’s response should be seen in the context of the question he was answering.

He expressed confidence that the government would complete its tenure and it was facing criticism as it was just three-month old.

“We will tackle all issues and a new Pakistan will emerge,” he added.

To a question about the premier saying he came to know about the dollar’s rate surge only through the media, Mr Tareen said it was the responsibility of the State Bank and the finance ministry to keep control on the US dollar rate. He added that the the ministry might not have timely informed the PM about it.

He dispelled the impression that he (Tareen) or the prime minister had any differences with the finance minister, clarifying that no meeting was held to discuss Mr Asad Umer’s performance.

He said work was under way to establish south Punjab province as per the party’s pledge to the masses, but it would take time as a huge infrastructure was required in this regard. He added that the share of new province in the NFC, Senate seats and water resources were also the major issues to be decided.

He said it was quiet possible that next time separate elections would be held in Punjab and south Punjab provinces.

About the possibility of any change in the federal cabinet, Mr Tareen said only the PM knew about it. He, however, hinted at Faisalabad getting a federal ministry.

Mr Tareen said the previous government had spent seven billion dollars from foreign reserves to keep the US dollar rate around Rs105. He alleged the previous rulers had taken wrong decisions that badly hit the national economy.

“We are cleaning the garbage of decades and we are passing through a tough period due to ill-conceived policies of the PML-N government. This year is very tough, however, efforts are being made to make Pakistan a prosperous and developed country,” he added.

About the non-availability of funds for the annual development schemes in Punjab, he said the government had to pay billions of rupees for the Orange Line train.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2018

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