The PML-N President Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expresses serious concern at the recent drone attack

The PML-N President Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has expressed his serious concern and deep disappointment at the recent drone attack, carried out by the United States on Pakistan territory.

The drone attack was not only a violation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also an action that has been declared as a violation of International Law and the UN Charter.

Mr Nawaz Sharif’s sentiments were conveyed to the US Charge d’ Affairs, Ambassador Richard Hoagland by a close aide of the PML-N President, who stressed in his conversation with the US diplomat that the drone attack, coming within days of President Obama’s “crossroads” speech was highly regrettable, particularly as the President had spoken of initiating a new policy that would ensure greater exercise of care and caution in the use of this technology.

Mr Nawaz Sharif’s aide also pointed out that meaningful consultations and close cooperation between the two countries should be the desired course of action, rather than unilateral measures.

Nawaz Sharif: US and Pakistan to work collectively against terrorism

LAHORE: Prime minister-elect Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that Pakistan and the United States will work collectively to counter terrorism, Radio Pakistan reported.
He was addressing US Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, James Dobbins.
Sharif said that his incoming government will make effective measures to improve the living standards of citizens.
All available resources will be utilised to resolve the power crisis Pakistan is facing, he continued.
Dobbins responded by saying that American businessmen will invest in Pakistan to strengthen its economy, while America will continue to play its role in strengthening democracy in the country, Radio Pakistan reported. (Courtesy: Tribune)

Shahbaz Sharif says ‘looted money’ will be retrieved

LONDON: Punjab Chief Minister-designate Shahbaz Sharif warned that the PML-N government will initiate a transparent and acceptable accountability mechanism to recover the stolen wealth of Pakistan’s taxpayers from the corrupt elements.

Addressing a press conference in London, the former Punjab chief minister, who was here on a private visit for two days, said that his party didn’t believe in victimisation of anyone as “it will mean wasting time and being unfair to the historic mandate given to us by the nation” but said that the swindled money would be recovered.

Sharif was asked if his party would go after those who are alleged to have committed massive fraud during the last five years of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government. Shahbaz Sharif was accompanied by Muhammad Sarwar, Scottish Pakistani businessman and Britain’s first ever Labour MP, and Nasir Butt, PML-N UK’s acting president.

Shahbaz Sharif said that the 11 May election was unprecedented not also because the PML-N won a historic mandate but also because for the first time in the electoral history of Pakistan, it was a three-way contest, with the addition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in the race. Sharif alleged that sections of the media “organised campaign for Imran Khan’s PTI”.

“We felt that it was a one-sided campaign the way media highlighted Imran Khan but the people of Pakistan gave us a historic mandate. It’s a great turning point for Pakistan because the people of Pakistan showed seriousness and kept facts before them, not only in the Punjab but all over Pakistan,” he said.

He alleged that the PPP used the “looted wealth of Pakistanis” on running television and print adverts against his person and the PML-N but didn’t succeed in its aims and Imran Khan also used lots of funds on television campaigns.

The former chief minister Punjab said that his party could have easily formed the government in KPK and went against the advice of Maulana Fazlur Rehman but “Nawaz Sharif showed sagacity and gave Imran Khan’s party a chance to form their government.”

He said that the PML-N, despite enjoying a clear majority now, will form alliances at all levels to deal with the “daunting challenges the country faces through collective wisdom”.

Shahbaz Sharif assured the overseas Pakistani that in the next general election, they will be able to cast their votes and he will ensure that everything is done to facilitate their voting right but he didn’t mention if his party will support the right of dual nationals to stand for the public posts. Sharif requested Muhammad Sarwar, who originally hails from Faisalabad, to prepare recommendations about what measures can be taken to help the overseas Pakistanis and how Pakistani missions and embassies abroad can become community hubs.

He called on the overseas Pakistanis to invest in Pakistan. “We need investment in Pakistan. Due to the economic mismanagement and bad policies, investors have fled Pakistan. They were asked for bribes and commission cut. I can say with confidence that under Nawaz Sharif, the situation in Pakistan will change. He has already said that he will go for simplicity and will do everything to make Pakistan self-reliant.”

Speaking about the energy crisis, Shahbaz Sharif said that circular debt combined with the corruption of politicians has contributed to aggravating the problem. He said that the previous government as well as the officials linked with producing electricity had all been involved in corruption. He promised that the poorest sections of the society will not be billed in the same way as the richest class. “The system is unfair. We will tax the rich and benefit the poor consumers. They shouldn’t be paying the bills at the same rate when they live in two different worlds.”

Shahbaz Sharif thanked Muhammad Sarwar for helping his party win the election. As reported in this paper previously, the former Labour MP played a crucial role in helping the PML-N win several seats from Faisalabad and the surrounding areas. Answering a question about the fate of Pervez Musharraf, Sharif said that the former military dictator’s case was in the court and hoped that the courts would deal with his case as per the spirit of the Constitution.

He said that it was too early to say whether his party would form an alliance with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). “Let’s see how it goes,” remarked Shahbaz Sharif.

Muhammad Srawar congratulated the Sharif brothers over their “historic victory” and said that he had decided to support them after seeing the performance shown by Shahbaz Sharif. He said that no doubt Imran Khan has emerged as a credible and the second most popular leader and deserves respect but he needs to perform in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

About speculations that he might be made Governor Punjab or Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK, Sarwar said that he was not after any position and believed in selflessly serving the interests of Pakistan. “I have seen enough in politics and business and I am really not after any protocol or privilege. Pakistan is surrounded by crises and we all need to come together to help it,” he added. (Courtesy: The News)

New govt to address energy crisis on top priority: Ahsan Iqbal

Leader of PML-N‚ Ahsan Iqbal MNA-elect has said that the top priority of the new government would be to address the energy crisis in the country.
Addressing a news conference after a meeting of party leaders here in Lahore on Wednesday‚ he expressed the hope that PML-N would succeed to reduce the duration of the load shedding to the minimum level.
He said electricity theft is the basic reason of load shedding and it would be dealt with iron hand. (Courtesy: Nation)

PML-N to follow court’s verdict on CJ’s extension

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) would follow the court’s verdict on awarding 22 months extension to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, against his suspension by the then President Pervez Musharaf.

PML-N Secretary Information Senator Mushahidullah Khan, while talking to this correspondent, said that the PML-N has a lot of time to take a political stand on this issue as there are more than six months before the retirement of the chief justice of Pakistan. He said they have various mega issues to resolve and their premier has not been sworn in yet and will decide this issue on merit as the issue has not come under discussion yet.

To a question that if the chief justice would be given extension, the other judges who were suspended by the Musharaf regime might claim the same favour, his answer was “[The] PML-N believes in the supremacy of judiciary and would follow the court order on the issue.”

He dispelled the impression that there was any confusion or differences in the party over the issue. To a question that some party men suggested the leadership that to acknowledge the services of the chief justice for democracy, like his predecessor Yusuf Raza Gilani, the nominated Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif in his first speech in the National Assembly would announce extension to the chief justice of Pakistan against his suspension period during Musharaf regime. He strongly denied it and said Mian Nawaz Sharif would take the issue seriously and not to make headlines for media as the previous regime did.

Some members of the PML-N, on the condition of anonymity, said that they have suggested the leadership not to oppose the writ if it appears any court of law and let the issue resolve amicably. They were of the view that the CJ has become the symbol of justice in the country, and it was a fact during his suspension he could not act as chief justice, and the PML-N upcoming government would find out some way to accommodate him.

If the PML-N coming government would decide otherwise, it would not leave a good impression on the public, and it will give an impression that the PML-N was endorsing the dictator’s actions. The doves were of the view that to avoid any confrontation with the judiciary, the PML-N should take one step forward on this issue and Mian Nawaz Sharif should award extension to the chief justice against his suspension period.

However, the hawks strongly opposing it said it would open another Pandora’s box as the party had already big challenges to face, and the PML-N should not favour any extension as party chief Mian Nawaz Sharif has explained on many occasions that they will avoid an extension in future. They argued it might create resentment in the higher judiciary if only the chief justice would be awarded extension.

While the legal experts were of the view that without amending the Constitution extension could not be awarded to the chief justice through any executive order as under Article 179, the age limit of a judge is 65 years. They explained this issue could not be resolved through any executive order as the executive order by the then Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani for judges restoration was of a different nature.

It is worth mentioning here that on April 23, 2013, a constitutional petition was filed in the Supreme Court, Lahore Registry, with a prayer to extend tenure of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry by one year and 10 months after his retirement that is due on December 11 this year. The Registrar Office of the Supreme Court raised objections to the petition and returned it to the mover Imtiaz Rasheed Qureshi, a member of the Save Judiciary Committee. (Courtesy: The News)

Rupee weakens against dollar

The rupee continued to weaken against the dollar in the foreign exchange market on Thursday, dealers said.

In the interbank market, the rupee closed at 98.52, down by four paisas as compared to Wednesday’s closing of 98.48 against the dollar.

Market dealers said that the market has started witnessing panic amid increase in the demand for the greenback from banks for delivery to importers.

The high demand for the dollars put some pressure on the exchange rate on Thursday, they added.

The rupee-dollar parity is likely to extend losses against the greenback during the remaining session of this week due to import payments pressure, dealers said.

In the open market, the rupee was exchanged at 99.80 and 105 from 99.75 and 100 at the buying and selling counters, respectively, against the dollar during the last trading session.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is scheduled to pay debt repayments of around 700 million SDR to the International Monetary Fund in June and August. (Courtesy: The News)

French and German Ambassadors call on PML-N President Muhammad Nawaz Sharif

French and German Ambassadors call on Mr Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, President PML-N on 31.5.2013 at Raiwind.

The Ambassadors of France and Germany called on Mr Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, President PML-N in Raiwind this evening.

The Ambassadors conveyed felicitations and good wishes of their leaders – President Hollande of France and Chancellor Angela Markel of Germany on the impressive victory of the PML-N in the recently concluded general elections. They lauded the role played by Mr Nawaz Sharif in strengthening the democratic institutions in Pakistan, while adding that the free and fair elections had enhanced Pakistan’s image and credibility in the world.

The Ambassadors also emphasized that both bilaterally and in the context of the European Union, their countries would seek to strengthen their relations with Pakistan, which they viewed as an important country not only in the political sphere but also in economic and commercial ties as well.

Mr Nawaz Sharif was assisted by Mr Tariq Fatemi.

Shahbaz Sharif asks MPs to fight terror, loadshedding

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister-designate Shahbaz Sharif has urged the PML-N’s newly-elected members of parliament (MPs) to lead from the front and wage a war against terrorism and loadshedding.

In a letter to the legislators, Shahbaz asked them to adopt austerity measures and help the PML-N government conserve resources so that sufferings of the people due to an all-time high loadshedding could be mitigated and their standard of living could improve.

Shahbaz wrote: “I congratulate you on the splendid victory in general elections, your victory reflects people’s allegiance to PML-N President Nawaz Sharif and their trust in party manifesto. Similarly, the exceptional performance of our government in Punjab during the last five years has further elevated the level of people’s confidence in PML-N.”

He said that we should thank Allah for bestowing this landslide victory upon us and let us make a pledge that we will work for the uplift of Pakistan and well being of our people beyond our personal interests.

He said at a time when the country was experiencing the worst-ever loadshedding, the need of the hour is to rid the people of power outages for which huge funds along with commitment, pursuance and hard work are required.

“I expect you to adopt austerity measures and help the government conserve resources so that we can fight loadshedding together, this is an established fact that people of your constituencies deserve your attention and services the most. But sometimes, public representatives abandon their people, which is very unfortunate. I really hope that you will not be among those people.” (Courtesy: The News)

PML-N govt will remove heads of all loss-making enterprises: Ahsan Iqbal

LAHORE: The PML-N will immediately remove the heads of all the loss-making public sector enterprises after taking the charge of the government and appointing competent Pakistanis who will end corruption and nepotism from these institutions.

The PML-N’s central leader Ahsan Iqbal has said that heads and chief executives of loss-making state-owned enterprises including Pakistan Steel, PIA, Pakistan Railways and National Shipping Corporation would be removed with an objective to end the financial haemorrhaging worth Rs450 billion annually to the national exchequer.

“Applications for these apex posts will be advertised in media on the very first day of the new federal government and competent Pakistanis will be appointed with major task to end corruption and nepotism in the loss-making public sector enterprises and make them self-dependent,” Ahsan Iqbal said while talking to the members of Lahore Economic Journalists Association (LEJA) Wednesday.

The PML-N government after taking the charge will remove the heads on the first day of the government. The plan has been evolved to take the briefed Ahsan Iqbal on the working of the association.

Ahsan Iqbal said the new government was elected with inherited energy crisis, financial constraints, poor law and order and bad governance at the worst critical level of country’s history. However, the PML-N is committed to make every possible effort to mitigate the sufferings of people due to power outages. In this regard, short-term and long term measures are being taken, he added. “But it will be illogical to give any deadline for ending loadshedding. This may lead to media trial of the new government,” Ahsan said. The PML-N leadership has evolved its strategy to control the energy crisis as well as bring down the cost of energy generation. The focus of the PML-N government will be on coal, hydel, natural gas and solar power generation which are all indigenous resources.

The PML-N believed that without utilising the indigenous power generation resources, cheap energy will not available, he mentioned. On the other hand, the cheap and smooth energy is also vital for industrial and agricultural growth of Pakistan, he added. He said a five-year development plan for Punjab province was being developed. All the future budgets of the province would be prepared in line with this plan.

Ahsan Iqbal said the PML-N wanted to make Punjab a model economy for other provinces and the federation. He claimed that the Punjab government had adopted zero tolerance for corruption over the last five years and added that a similar policy would be adopted at federal and Balochistan level for the next five years. To bring the all stakeholders on board, the Punjab Governance and Development Conference is planned within the next couple of days after the Punjab chief minister takes oath of the office, he said.

In this conference, the Punjab government will chalk out long term policies and develop next five years budget of the province with the consultations of all the stakeholders, Ahsan Iqbal disclosed. He said the PML-N while having federal government and enjoying rule in Punjab and Balochistan, would extend every possible support to the governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “It is time to compete in performance only, not in the fields of ‘dharnas’ and strikes,” he added. (Courtesy: The News)

I won’t stay in Prime Minister’s House: Nawaz Sharif

LAHORE: PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has said that he will not stay in the Prime Minister’s House and the size of his cabinet will not exceed 26 members.

Addressing a consultative meeting of the party at Jati Umra, Raiwind, on Wednesday, the PML-N chief stated that crucial decisions would be taken for solving the administrative issues of the country.

The meeting chaired by the PML-N president and prime minister-designate was held to discuss the core issues confronting the Federation, including loadshedding. The meeting was attended by central leaders of the PML-N, including Senator Ishaq Dar, Ch Nisar Ali, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, Kh Asif and Ahsan Iqbal.

Besides, renowned businessmen, experts and technocrats including Mian Mansha, Shaukat Tareen and others were also present. The meeting reviewed possible measures for generating electricity and addressing the power crisis.

Nawaz also resolved to end the unannounced power loadshedding in the first phase of his government and utilising all the resources for the solution of this issue. He stated that they will have to work day and night for the solution of power crisis. Foreign investors should also invest in the power sector, he added.

Sources stated important decisions regarding the power issue were taken in the meeting and the party president sought proposals from the participants.The meeting also decided that the Punjab cabinet would comprise 32 ministers and they would not avail protocol.

The meeting also decided that the power sector would be given special importance and special austerity measures would be taken to improve the situation. It also decided that no new subsidy would be given to people in the upcoming budget.

It was also decided that heads of those corporations who faced constant losses would be changed and capable persons would be selected for important slots. Nawaz during the meeting also stated that solution of the problems was the top priority of his government. He also said that the government would not stop the funds of the ongoing development projects and all resources would be utilised for addressing the challenges. The experts in the meeting also stressed the need for early completion of work on the projects meant for power generation. (Courtesy: The News)