Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has said that the announcement of the date for general elections was not the whole Constitution, adding that many other aspects cannot be ignored. “Should we ignore other aspects and put emphasis only on one,” he questioned while talking to the media during a visit to Mayo Hospital, Lahore, on Tuesday. Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi and his team was also present on the occasion.

He said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will give the date for general elections while the interim governments will ensure a level-playing field. The interim PM said there was a specific procedure and it was the duty of ECP to fully implement it. “We should set an example for others through our actions.”

In response to another question, he said the ECP has not imposed any ban on any political party so far. The policy of the government was to provide equal facilities to all the political parties. Every political party has freedom of political activities and expression of opinion, he said, adding the caretaker government will not take any illegal and unconstitutional measures. He said neither the ECP had placed any restrictions on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) nor there was any move to dismantle it as a political party. He said people loyal to PTI chairman would also be allowed to take part in election campaigns. It was also the domain of the ECP to allocate election symbols to political parties. The caretaker prime minister further elaborated that it was his government’s policy that all the big and small registered political parties had equal rights and opportunities to contest the upcoming polls

Responding to a question regarding Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, the caretaker premier said that Pakistan strongly condemned the Israeli aggression. “We have raised our voice for Palestine on every front. Pakistan’s foreign minister has been fully represented in the OIC meeting on Gaza.” In the recent visit to China, there have been detailed discussions with international leaders on this conflict, the caretaker prime minister said.

He said it was a conflict that has not been resolved for a long time, and Pakistan will continue to play its positive role in this regard. He said there should be an immediate ceasefire in Gaza so that aid could be provided to the oppressed Palestinians. While answering a question about the International Monetary Fund team’s visit to Pakistan, he said an IMF delegation will visit on November 2 and all the preparations were complete in this regard.

In response to a question, he said the SIFC was an important platform for investment and has full protection of parliament. He said smuggling has been a major obstacle to economic development. Timely and effective administrative measures of the caretaker government were ensuring an end to smuggling and hoarding. He said that after reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel and depreciation of dollar, the prices of food items and commodities, including flour, sugar, ghee and pulses, have decreased. He hoped that inflation will decrease further. Answering a question, the interim PM said that no country in the world allows foreigners to stay in their country illegally and the impression that registered Afghan refugees were being sent back was wrong. All illegal immigrants will be sent back to their countries, he said, adding that citizens of any other country can legally come to Pakistan with a visa. He said the promotion of religious tourism was the need of the hour and also appreciated restoration of cultural heritage of the Shahi Qila. The caretaker federal government will provide all possible support to the Punjab in terms of tourism promotion, he announced. The efforts of the caretaker Punjab government for the promotion of culture were worthy and it was expected that other provinces will also take steps to promote tourism, he said. Earlier, Kakar and Naqvi paid a visit to Mayo Hospital to assess the progress of the emergency block’s upgrade. The interim PM commended the hospital upgrading initiative led by the Punjab caretaker CM. He also talked to doctors present there. Kakar and Naqvi also paid a visit to the Imamiya Colony overhead bridge where NLC officials gave them a briefing on the project. They also visited Mazar-e-Iqbal to offer Fateha. During a meeting with Punjab cabinet ministers, the caretaker PM praised the caretaker CM’s swift actions in promptly passing on the benefits of reduced petroleum prices to the people of the province. The caretaker prime minister, meanwhile, met Punjab Governor Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman at the Governor’s House. During the meeting, they discussed various issues and matters of mutual interest. They expressed satisfaction on the performance of the caretaker Punjab government. Kakar said the federal government is making great efforts to discharge its responsibilities according to its mandate, especially for economic development.

The Punjab governor drew the attention of the caretaker PM to the issue of reduction in annual funding of Higher Education Commission to universities. The governor said the HEC should increase its funding to universities and also support universities in improving financial conditions.

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