Caretaker PM Kakar strongly condemned May 9 violence giving a categorical message to elements involved in May 9 violence saying that justice would be done and there would be no favours or fears

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar Friday strongly condemned May 9 violence giving a categorical message to elements involved in May 9 violence saying that justice would be done and there would be no favours or fears.

In his maiden address to the federal cabinet, Kakar said that a sabotage activity took place on May 9. “It was matter of discomfort for me that how we reached that day,” he said.

He noted that the miscreants attacked military installations and state symbols. “The state does not disappear or vanish in a day or two or a week. It can be a process and initiations of that process or an attempt at least to do so,” he said, adding that there would be no favours or fears and they would try to implement justice with neutrality.

The caretaker prime minister expressed the firm resolve to ensure that minorities in Pakistan stay protected and rule of law is established at any cost.

“We strongly discourage rigidity either in the garb of religion or secularism and no one will be allowed to create anarchy or chaos in the country,” Kakar said.

Strongly deploring the Jaranwala incident, the interim PM said Pakistan is owned and shared by multiple ethnicities and religions and any extreme attitude like the one exhibited in Jaranwala will be unwelcomed and dealt with iron hands.

He maintained that minorities would stay protected in the country saying that there might be an attempt to harm them from a section of marginalised and peripheral group of people but hey would be responded sternly.

“Pakistan state and society do not align with such elements. They may be from us but they are divorced from us and from our identity,” he said.

He pointed out that when one group which is in majority should ensure that the minority is protected. “But not on the basis that they will convert to your world view,” he said.

Highlighting the key priorities of the caretaker government, Kakar said in the current polarised environment, they would try to differentiate between politics and law.

“We know the sanctity of the order and that will be kept at any cost,” he said.

He said they would also lay a solid foundation for continuity of the country’s national and international commitments made by previous government with different forums. “We do not have perpetual mandate to serve the nation but during the given allocated time, we will try to lay foundation where we have sense of continuation of national and international commitments that the previous government has made with different forums,” he said.

He said that in the same spirit of continuity, they would move forward to work with the support of all state institutions on different development initiatives especially the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) which aims at realising the full potential of country’s natural resources.

“SIFC is a dream-come-true project as Pakistan is an agriculture country and also rich with mineral resources,” he said. He was of the view that the SIFC was not an idea but it was an old national dream that was going to be materialised.

“Day has come when with the support of all institutions, including military leadership, we support, facilitate, encourage and realise this old national dream,” Kakar observed. He pointed out that the SIFC was not held only by any institution but was collectively owned by around 250 million people of the country.

Talking about Kashmir issue, the interim prime minister said Kashmir is a core problem which could not be ignored as it lies in their souls and for Pakistanis Kashmir is eternal.

Naming members of his cabinet, Kakar that he was proud that he has got the best team. “Without utmost duty, may be it is a month, two, three, or three and a half, whatever the allocated time is we will display through our actions not by our words,” he said.

He said that he was aware of the huge economic challenges but with an able team, the caretaker government would ensure the financial discipline. “We have a sense of sanctity of tax payer’s money on which we are having today’s meeting is paid by the people of the country,” he said.

Kakar observed that either it was an ordinary vender, shopkeeper, teacher, lawyer or any other person, lawyer or any other person are contributing through payment of taxes.

Later, talking to the media after the cabinet meeting, caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi said that holding general elections was the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the federal government would fulfill its duty to assist the watchdog in that regard.

Addressing his maiden press conference as information minister, he said the entire caretaker cabinet would try hard to fulfill responsibilities under the oath and in accordance with the law and Constitution.

Solangi said he had held a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Raja Sikandar Sultan and apprised him about the commitment of the federal cabinet regarding assistance in holding free elections in the country and implementing the ECP recommendations for necessary transfer and posting of officials in that regard.

He said the cabinet decided that on the election day the first vote would be cast by the caretaker prime minister and then by the ministers.

The minister said the country would be ultimately run by the elected representatives of the people as was envisaged in the Constitution of Pakistan and the caretaker government would look after the affairs only till the elections.

He said that the cabinet decided to reduce the government’s spending in view of the prevailing economic conditions, and it was also the government’s responsibility not to waste taxpayers’ money.

“We cannot afford to buy petroleum products at high prices and sell them at low prices,” he said, adding, as per the agreement with International Monetary Fund, the government could not subsidise commodities.

Solangi said the state with its power stood with the minorities and no one would be allowed to victimise them in the name of religion, colour or caste.

Islam granted special rights to the minorities and those responsible for the Jaranwala incident would be brought to justice, he vowed.

Pakistan, he said, was a country of 250 million people, who all had equal human rights.

The cabinet stressed on promoting Sufism in the country to counter extremism, narrow-mindedness and intolerance prevailing in the society, he added.

He said everyone expressed grief and sorrow over the Jaranwala incident and steps were being taken to ensure protection of the minorities.

The minister said caretaker PM emphasised building infrastructure in the country.

Replying to media persons’ questions, Solangi said poverty and inflation were a reality and nobody could deny that fact.

It was also a fact that hike in the petroleum products’ prices also caused inflation but the government’s hands were tied due to the IMF’s standby arrangement.

He assured the media that the government would cut its expenditure to reduce burden on the national exchequer.

Answering a question about the ongoing legal cases against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership, he said the matter was sub judice.

The government was not a party to those cases and the relevant institutions were performing their duties as per law.

To another question, he said the media and educational institutions had to play an important role in promoting tolerance and harmony in the society to avert Jaranwala like incidents in the future.

He said it was the responsibility of every government, including the caretaker setup, to take steps for strengthening the economy, and improving law and order situation.

Replying to a query, he said the caretaker cabinet comprised only 16 members, besides a half dozen advisers and special assistants.

Most of the cabinet members represented their respective fields and hopefully they would prove their worth with their performance, he added.

Murtaza Solangi reiterated that the caretaker government did not believe in any gag on the media and would take steps to ensure freedom of expression in the country.

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