Giving date of elections not prerogative of caretaker govt: Info Minister

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ISLAMABAD
Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi says the elections will be held on the date, announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
In an interview with a private web news channel, the Minister said he has full confidence in the ability and leadership of the Election Commission of Pakistan. He said it is not the prerogative of the caretaker government to give election date.
The minister said he had full faith and confidence in the capability and leadership of the ECP, and the elections would be held on the date announced by the Election Commission.
To a question he said that Pakistan People’s Party was one of the major political parties of the country. “We are going through the phase of election and during the environment of election, any party and its leadership had the freedom to give their stand on any important issue”, he maintained.
Murtaza Solangi said that media in Pakistan enjoyed freedom and the courts were also free, adding all registered political parties had equal opportunities.
The Election Commission of Pakistan and caretaker government would ensure equal opportunities for all political parties in the upcoming elections, he added. The minister stated that there was no ban on PTI as a political party.
Replying to a question, he said that the process of privatization was not initiated by caretaker government, previous parliament and its elected government decided to privatize various entities. “We are bound to implement the decisions of the previous parliament and the previous government,” Murtaza Solangi opined. The minister stressed the need for reformation in the institutions.
Answering a question, he said that public broadcasters were considered essential services, and as they were institutions of compulsory national service they were supported by the state worldwide. He said he was against privatization of public broadcasters which was as a matter of principle and ideologically wrong.
However, the minister said that public broadcasters should not have such people who do not belong to today’s modern broadcasting mechanisms. When asked about fundamental changes in national broadcasters, he said making such decisions was not included in the mandate of the caretaker government.
Answering a question about deadline given for deportation of illegal immigrants living in Pakistan, he said those who lecture Pakistan on human rights should check their own record on human rights.
The minister said no other country in the world had hosted as many refugees during past over four decades as Pakistan has done. The countries could not survive with soft borders with anybody entering in its territory without documentation and living freely and prepare fake passports and identitycards, he said.
The minister said that the people residing illegally in the country should voluntarily leave the country by October 31.
After October 31, he added such illegal foreigners would be forcibly evicted from the country. “Our aim is to defend our state and our citizens.Our primary responsibility is to defend our citizens and secure our national borders,” he remarked.
The minister said Pakistan only wanted deportation of illegal immigrants from its soil and the country would no longer allow anyone crossing the border and living here without fulfilling legal requirements. He said that Nawaz Sharif’s return had nothing to do with caretaker government.
The minister acknowledged that Nawaz Sharif was the leader of one of Pakistan’s largest political parties and he did not flee the country illegally. He said that on return of Nawaz Sharif law would take its course and Constitution of Pakistan will be abided by.
To a question about who would run the PTI election campaign, he said it was internal matter of that party.
The minister said that history was the witness that political parties conducted their election campaigns even in difficult circumstances and there was no restriction on PTI in that regard.