PML (N) not to disappoint masses: Sheikh Aftab:SHAIKAH AFTAB

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Waheed Hussain

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Chief Whip of PML (N) Shaikh Aftab in an exclusive interview with the Centerline and DNA passionately spoke out his government top most priorities to address challenges currently being faced by the nation. In a Q & A session Sheikh Aftab candidly highlighted the government’s plans to find out solutions to problems such as terrorism, energy crises, restructuring and privatization of the financially bleeding national institutions, economy, social sector, and evolving national cohesion between center and the various federating units. Here are excerpts from his interview.

Q. How would you prioritize government plans for addressing various important issues being confronted by the country?

A. We are about to complete first three months in the government and did our best to fight on all fronts simultaneously on the war footing. As we all know that in the broader perspective there are five major issues that need the immediate attention including terrorism, energy, economy, corruption, and unemployment. Most of the internal law and order and sectarianism, unemployment, price hike, destruction of the state institutions, social injustice, deterioration of health and education sector and increasing frustration among the masses rooted in those five issues mentioned earlier. If we as a nation and naturally our government succeed in finding solution to those hard core problems the country, once again, would be put on the right track. The moment we came into power, the government paid Rs. 480 billion piled up circular debt of the previous PPP government to the power generating companies. The result was that the country power generation went up from 9500 MW to 15000 MW reducing the electricity load shedding from 20 hours a day to just few hours. As everybody knows that during month of Ramazan the load-shedding was brought down to zero level during Iftar, Travi and Sehri timings. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sherif is taking personal interest in resolving energy crises on the permanent basis in the next five years. The government is working on numerous power projects to put more and more electricity to our transmission lines. At the same time power experts and senior officials of ministry of water and power have been given the task to redress the faulty electricity system throughout the country which would prevent the losses. Until the faulty power distribution system is being addressed the new generation would not be able to bring us out of the present energy crises. The power sector needs the most modern and efficient power distribution system in the country. So the government team is seriously working on those lines.

Q. What about terrorism in the country will your government be able to control it?

A. Well! The country is victim of this menace for the last 11 long years, however, our government is committed to normalize law and order situation with the help of all political parties. Until the law order in the country is restored no foreign investor would dare to come to Pakistan. The government is very much aware of this fact that providing security to every individual is its basic duty and that’s why we are consulting all stakeholders to finalize a national security policy.

Q. How your government would protect further destruction of the national institutions?

A. Presently all big national institutions including Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Still Mills, WAPDA and various others are in worse condition. They have serious administrative and financial issues. Every year the government has to provide them Rs. 500 billion subsidy. How long we could waste national resources on these white elephants. All those inefficient institutions are burden on the government kitty and we have to address this issue on the permanent basis. There was a time when these institutions were generating financial resources and profit for the country but due to bad policies of the previous government they are crippled down.

Q. The Prime Minister was always remembered for Motorway Project, this time again he is planning new motorways and highways, how those would be constructed with the limited financial resources?

A. As there is a famous saying that “where there is a will there is a way.” The Prime Minister of Pakistan has a dream to develop Pakistan on the line of other modern and developed nations of the world. During the PM resent visit to China we have signed “Economic Corridor” project with the Chinese government. This Rail and Road project will connect Gwadar with Kashgar. It would bring an economic revolution in Pakistan. Similarly, Lahore-Karachi motorway and Metro Bus Project in Karachi will help the masses. The other main highways would also be completed to increase trade and business activities in the country. All these projects would generate a lot of employment opportunities for the young people. Whatever crimes and lawlessness we are witnessing in the country today, one of the major reasons is that of joblessness. When educated and young lot does not get respectable jobs it turns to criminal acts. Sometime the terrorists and anti-Pakistan forces misuse them against the country. Therefore, the government with the help of private sector would generate new employment opportunities in the next five years. Though the task is very tough, the government under the visionary, capable and sincere leadership of the Prime Minister would achieve it. We would put our all efforts to make Pakistan, the one as being dreamt by founding fathers of this nation.

Q. How many Parliamentary committees of the National Assembly would be constituted?

A. There would be 28 National Assembly Standing Committees. The members of these committees have being finalized and would be announced shortly. The government has also nominated 18 Parliamentary Secretaries as well.

Q. There is criticism from the opposition benches that Prime Minister and other ministers do not attend the national assembly and senate session your comment please?

A. In fact the Prime Minister is busy in the national issues, that is the only reason he could not appeared in the Parliament session. But other ministers do attend both the houses.

Q. Will the government bulldoze bills or will give time for the proper debate and discussion?

A. The government would not do anything to undermine the sanctity of the Parliament. It would tolerate the opposition criticism and would welcome any suggestion on various national issues. The PML (N) government respects the mandate of the other political parties in KPK, Sindh and Baluchistan. The federal government would support the provinces in improving the law and order situation and would extend all out assistance in this regard. As everybody knows that PML (N) had sufficient members in Baluchistan to elect party’s Chief Minister, however, keeping in view the security and political situation in that province Muhammad Nawaz Sharif got elected a Baloch nationalist Dr Abdual Malik. So we want a politics of reconciliation and consultation, because, no single political party or stakeholder could bring the country out of present difficulties.

Waheed Hussain is Consulting Editor of Centreline and host of Current Affairs Talk Show on Business Plus TV Channel.