ISLAMABAD (APP):Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Monday ruled out the prospects of holding early elections in the country, advising his political adversaries to wait for the upcoming polls.

the said holding of early elections was not possible. People had voted for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and it had delivered in the last four and a half years.

The opposition had never criticized PML-N government’s performance, he said and expressed the hope that people would vote for his party in the next general elections on the basis of its performance.

About probable candidates in the PML-N for the prime minister office after the next general elections, he said the decision in this regard would be taken by the parliamentary committee to be formed after getting majority in the elections.

He said it would be premature to suggest any name. Being a senior leader of PML-N, Shahbaz Sharif had delivered in the province, so his name could be included along with others in the list for the next prime minister, he added.

To a question, the prime minister said, the PML-N had always worked with other parties for the sake of democracy. Some parties supported the PML-N while others like Pakistan Tehreek i Insaf opposed it.

As the elections were nearing, every party wanted to create a space for itself. All wanted elections in time and when all had the same objective, the political friction appeared to have reduced, he added.

The prime minister also supported the move to enfranchise expatriates as they were also Pakistanis with sophisticated exposure in foreign countries and expressed the optimism that they would definitely vote for the PML-N on the basis of its performance.

He also declared that PML-N would get public support in Sindh province, adding various uplift projects worth billions of rupees were being completed in Karachi and Hyderabad.

It was not a political gimmick as the PML-N government wanted to develop Karachi and was providing funds despite the fact that after 18th amendment, such subjects had been devolved to provinces.

To a question, the prime minister said the tax amnesty scheme could be launched within next two weeks.

The amnesty scheme was neither a ploy to amass wealth nor to nab people, but it would be an attempt to formally bring the undeclared assets into the documented economy.

He said currently, only 1.2 million people had filed tax returns. Hardly 0.7 to 0.8 per cent population bore the burden of paying taxes.

Terming the current system unfair, the prime minister observed that those people who had paid taxes were overburdened whereas others who shied away from paying the same were exempted. To fill the gap, the government had to go for indirect taxation.

The prime minister also dropped a hint that the current tax slabs could be reduced to enable the people to pay their taxes. The exemption slab for the low income could be further adjusted.

He said the national identity cards could be utilized for creation of profiles to wider the tax net and stressed that Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) should enhance its trust with public.

The prime minister to a another question reiterated that the decision about eligibility of Nawaz Sharif would be made by public and not by the National Accountability Court as the people did not endorse such decisions. He said cases against co-chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari were framed during late Leghari’s tenure and not by the PML-N government.

Responding to another query, he said whenever the domain of executive was encroached upon, it had weakened its functioning. He said the executive and judiciary had separate domains and relevant laws existed in this regard, but insisted that these domains required interpretation over exercise of authority and responsibility.

The prime minister said the attorney general often raised such points before the courts. “The judgments should speak for themselves,” he added.

He said a parliamentary oversight was required over nomination of judges of the superior judiciary as it was a worldwide practice.

The current one was a formality and the parliamentary body had no powers to overrule a nomination, he said and suggested that the judicial system in the country should take lead in this regard.

About the holding of National Security Committee’s meetings, he said these enabled civilian and military leadership to understand the critical issues leading to consensus.

To another question, he said Nawaz Sharif was thrice elected as prime minister and being the most responsible person, he understood the national issues.

The prime minister said a debate was required in the country over topics like performance of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or PEPRA rules.

About import of LNG from Qatar, he said all the relevant documents were available on PEPRA and PCO websites. Country had never experienced such documentary procurements in its history. The government had broken the hold of oil mafia that was the reason behind its criticism, he opined.

About China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said it was aimed at wider connectivity and under its umbrella, different energy and infrastructure projects were being implemented. The prime minister to a question about US-Pak ties, said there were no reality in the tweets.

He regretted that Pakistan was blamed for every issue in Afghanistan. The fact was that terrorists from the Afghan soil attacked Pakistan.

“Pakistan has fought a successful war on terrorism and cleared all the sanctuaries. Terror attacks had reduced in the country,” he said. “We fought the war for ourselves and the world. Pakistan is an ally of the world in this fight and not its opponent,” he emphasized.

The prime minister said they had always remained engaged with Washington. The war was no solution to Afghan issue as it could be resolved through dialogue.

He said now the ground reality was that Afghan government’s writ had weakened and a major part of the country was under the control of anti-government forces or Taliban. Pakistan was ready to facilitate the negotiation efforts.

The prime minister stressed upon the resettlement of about 3 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan.

Pakistan had responded clearly to Washington. No country other than Pakistan wanted durable peace in Afghanistan. he added. 

He said about 30 per cent of Coalition Support Fund reimbursement was still pending.