• Says announcing poll date beyond interim govt’s mandate
• Hints at easy instalments for power consumers using up to 200 units
• Plan in the works to curb cross-border smuggling
ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has said consistency of policies is only possible under a one-party rule, and not in a liberal democracy and parliamentary system.
“The consistency you are referring to is possible in one-party government which rules for two, three or four decades and forwards its policies with consistency — whether they are right or wrong. If you come in liberal democracy, where a parliamentary system exists, policies are made through assessments in view of economic and political challenges and on that basis they [rulers] are judged by the people who again give them [rulers] mandate or not,” the PM told a questioner at a news conference here on Friday.
“I understand that even expectation of such uniform policies is unrealistic,” he said, adding that governments should exhibit their ability, in which their capacity and intentions were exposed, and make decisions and take responsibility of their decisions. On that basis, people should decide whether or not give them [governments] mandate.
Responding to a question about the next general elections, Mr Kakar said announcing the poll date was beyond the mandate of the interim government.
“If I announce elections, I would be engaging in an unlawful act, and as a journalist, you should be aware that if you steer us towards illegal actions and pose questions that might tempt us to break the law, then what should my response be,” he asked another questioner.
As the presser was held soon after a meeting on cross-border smuggling, hoarding and power theft, Mr Kakar said: “We have zero tolerance for those involved in smuggling and the law will take its course.”
He said the meeting discussed monitoring, implementation and future strategy over the last week decisions on smuggling, power theft and hoarding.
He said extensive discussions had taken place regarding the Afghan Transit Trade agreement and reopening of the Torkham border. “Restoration of Afghan trade does not mean it will start smuggling again,” he added.
Asked about the involvement of Afghan refugees in cross-border smuggling, Mr Kakar said an effective policy had been agreed upon.
He categorised the Afghans living in Pakistan into three types: those registered with the government, “aliens with no justification to reside”, and those with “identity theft”.
“We will push the [Afghan] aliens back to their country and no one without the visa regime will be allowed to live here,” he asserted.
Asked about the hike in prices of petroleum products thrice during the tenure of the caretaker government, the PM said the matter was beyond domestic control and linked to the global increase.
He hinted at announcing in the near future easy instalments for electricity consumers using up to 200 units.
About the political alignment of Fawad Hasan Fawad and Ahad Cheema, who were included in the caretaker set-up, PM Kakar said he considered them both “capable and integrated individuals of society with their prime identity as former civil servants”.
“I don’t think they have ever been the members or office-holders of any political party,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2023