Citing democracy as the solution for all of the problems facing Pakistan, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf today called on the opposition to cooperate with his government to ensure free and fair polls and a smooth transition of power. A strong democratic set-up alone can resolve all the issues facing Pakistan and ensure the country’s progress and prosperity, Ashraf said in his speech at an official event organised to mark the Independence Day. He was addressing a gathering that included the country’s top civil and military leadership. He listed the achievements of the Pakistan People’s Party-led government and said the “roots of democracy are strong in Pakistan”.
Extending an offer of dialogue to all political parties for reconciliation and the holding of fair and free elections once the government completes its tenure, Ashraf hoped the political leaders would cooperate with him. The opposition has been taken into confidence on steps aimed at holding an impartial and transparent general election, including the consensus appointment of a new Chief Election Commissioner, he said. “We want an impartial and transparent election so that the transfer of power takes place in a democratic way, which would be a big success for the continuity of democracy in the country,” Ashraf told the gathering. The premier’s remarks came against the backdrop of widespread criticism of his government by opposition parties like the PML-N, which had been pushing for early polls. Though the next general election is expected in March-April next year, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has said the polls should be held immediately as the government had not been able to tackle problems like corruption and a crippling energy shortage.
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