LAHORE: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill has said the PTI government is committed to hold the next general election on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and allow the overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right to franchise come what may.

Speaking at a news conference here at the Press Information Department (PID) on Sunday,

Mr Gill chided the PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal for calling overseas Pakistanis “ill-informed about the circumstances in Pakistan” and calling his son from abroad to contest election from Narowal. He asserted that those working abroad were very much in touch with their families and political situation in the country. “Do politics and behave like an enemy of the PTI leaders but don’t vent hatred against the overseas Pakistanis,” he asked the PML-N leader.

Mr Gill said when different countries including the US, UK, Brazil, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Argentine, Spain and India were holding general elections using EVMs and asked why couldn’t Pakistan use the technology.

He also reprimanded the PML-N and PPP governments for lavishly spending public money on their offices and camp offices and added that Prime Minister Imran Khan controlled such expenses and saved “over one billion rupees” during the past three years.Mr Gill said the prime minister had decided to focus on agriculture during the next financial year and claimed that this year crop yield increased and farmers got their due reward. “Farmers earned Rs1.1trillion more as compared to last year,” he said.

In the PPP government, he said, the crop yield increased by 1.1 percent, while population was increasing at the rate of 2.5pc.He rapped the PML-N for criticising the PTI government over “low defense budget” and said the opposition party had actually always been speaking against the armed forces on account of getting high budget allocations. “In the PML-N’s tenure, the defense budget was around Rs900 billion, while the PTI government allocated Rs1.3 trillion for the purpose,” he said and added that the government wanted to allocate more budget for defense, but the armed forces acknowledged that the country was passing through a tough time and volunteered to have lesser budget amount.

To a question, Mr Gill said everyone had contacts with the establishment and added that many of his relatives were in the establishment. He said many of PML-N leaders daily take tea with the people called establishment.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2021

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