ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said dialogue was a key to evolving democracy, however categorically stated that it could not be held with ‘anarchists and arsonists’ in the garb of politicians.
The prime minister’s statement came after the former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Friday appealed for immediate talks with state officials. Sharif said dialogue is deeply embedded in the political process, which helps democracy mature and evolve.
He said many political and constitutional breakthroughs occurred when political leaders sat across the table to craft a consensus. “However, there is a major difference here, the anarchists and arsonists who wear the garb of politicians and attack the symbols of the State do not qualify for a dialogue,” he said. The prime minister emphasized that such people should rather be held to account for their militant actions. He also termed it a prevalent practice even in developed democracies.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the provision of maximum relief to the masses and economic development would be among the Federal Government’s priorities in the upcoming budget for fiscal 2023-24.
The prime minister, chairing a meeting to discuss the budget proposals for the industrial sector, said the federal budget would also encompass the measures to enhance industrial growth as well as exports. He said he would personally make sure that the proposals coming for the industrial sector were incorporated into the budget.
The prime minister instructed the authorities concerned to remove all unnecessary impediments in the increase of small, medium and large-scale industrial production. He told the meeting that the previous government deliberately obstructed the investment and industrial development in the country.
The previous government violated the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to save its rule, making 220 million of Pakistan bear its brunt, he added. He said being a resilient nation, Pakistanis were gradually coming out of the economic difficulties.
Prime Minister Shehbaz said the government, the whole nation, industrialists and the business community were working hard to improve the country’s economic situation. He said throughout the previous year, the miscreants inflicted damage to the country through “long or short” marches and sit-ins. He also told the meeting that the incidents of May 9 not only created violence but also inflicted huge economic loss to the country.
He said the government would help decrease industries’ production costs by supplying low-cost energy, besides arranging easy bank loans for the small industries. Prime Minister Shehbaz directed his Advisor Ahad Cheema to finalise the proposals from the industrial sectors and ensure their incorporation into the budget. The meeting was joined through a video link by prominent industrialists and investors from all sectors.
Besides federal ministers Ishaq Dar, Syed Naveed Qamar, Ahsan Iqbal, Makhdoom Murtaza Mahmood and Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Minister of State Dr Musadik Malik, Advisor Ahad Cheema, Special Assistants to PM Tariq Bajwa and Jahanzeb Khan, MNA Qaiser Sheikh, State Bank governor, FBR chairman and relevant senior officers attended the meeting.
The ministries of commerce and industrial production put forward the budget proposals received from different sectors. Besides, the industrialists and investors presented their proposals for the budget. The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to carry out detailed work on the proposals and present a report to him.