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Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan (retired) Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister retired Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Saturday directed his cabinet members “to maintain conducive environment” for the elections through their “impartial” behaviour.

“The mandate of the caretaker government is not only to ensure free, fair, transparent and credible elections but also to maintain conducive environment for the elections. It is, therefore, necessary that the caretaker government, its ministers and the government machinery not only conduct itself impartially but are also seen to do so,” he was quoted to have told Interior Minister Malik Muhammad Habib Khan during a meeting.

The prime minister sought an explanation from the interior minister over his statement in which he had praised PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif.

Almost all political parties — particularly the PPP, MQM, PTI and ANP — have criticised the minister’s remarks and demanded his removal to ensure impartial polls.

According to an official handout, the minister told the prime minister that he had made the statement with good intentions but it had created an impression it was not intended to do.

The minister said that he had reached out to all political parties and had maintained contacts with them without any discrimination to maintain conducive environment.

The prime minister said the caretaker government was obliged to run government affairs in such a way that no one could raise questions about its probity.

He urged the ministers and government officials to focus their energy on holding general elections and devote themselves to making arrangements.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Prime Minister House said the federal government had directed the Ministry of Interior and the provincial governments to provide security to political leaders and candidates contesting May 11 elections.