ISLAMABAD - Elections will be held on time as it is the demand of the people and ECP should make sure that there is no delay in them.

This was stated by the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb while talking to the media after addressing a ceremony held here at the National Press Club with regard to International Day for Thalassemia. She said that if any attempt was made to delay elections the PML (N) would resist that move.

Responding to a question she said that 2018 was an election year which also witnessed the completion of ten years of uninterrupted democracy adding that the party which won the franchise of the people in the ensuing elections would form the next government.

She said that Pakistan had fought a successful war against terrorism through Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad and Karachi operation, which was still continuing. She said that the armed forces, law enforcing agencies and people had rendered unparalleled sacrifices in the war against terrorism.

Marriyum said that Imran Khan had alleged that Pakistan Army had stolen the mandate of 2013 elections, which should be taken notice of by the state institutions.

In regards to the attack on interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, she told the media that he was out of danger after a successful operation and all the political parties had condemned the incident. She said that Ahsan Iqbal belonged to a religious family and the entire nation knew him. 

The minister said that Ahsan Iqbal had played a very significant role in the development and prosperity of the country and even in CPEC he had created opportunities for the development of youth. She said that the politicians and civil society would need to adopt some principles on which nobody should do politics and criticism. She said such incidents could be checked if an effective SOP was implemented. The minister said that all the important persons should be given foolproof security.

Earlier, addressing the ceremony she said that the present government had taken effective measures for prevention of Thalassemia including the setting up of a Thalassemia Center in Islamabad on the instructions of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz. She urged all the patients under treatment in the Thalassemia center to pray to the Almighty for the safety and early recovery of Kalsoon Nawaz.

Marriyum revealed that the PML (N) government had waged a war against Thalassemia and had been successful in containing it to a great extent and consequently the situation in regards to a number of Thalassemia cases in 2013 and at present had changed altogether .She said that no government and stakeholders could tackle a fatal disease like Thalassemia without due cooperation and consent of the masses. The minister informed the audience that the ministry of Information and Broadcasting was running an awareness campaign regarding Thalassemia through PTV and Radio Pakistan. She urged the private media to be a part of the campaign as one effort could save one life.

Marriyum said that she would send the request by Al-Aqsa Trust to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi. She said that the former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had for the first time initiated Prime Minister’s Health Programme which also included Thalassemia. The minister said that an emergency was in vogue in the country with respect to shortage of food for the child and mother.

She said that if the mother and child did not get the required food in the first one thousand days the child contracted noxious diseases.

The minister said that all the provinces had focused their attention on the killer disease of Thalassemia afflicting the children of the country.

She said that the treatment for Thalassemia was not only expensive but it was also a traumatic experience for the family adding that the provincial governments should declare emergency at the provincial level for the treatment of the disease.

The minister observed that the programme of the Punjab government for prevention of Thalassemia was of international standards and the other provinces could seek assistance from that. She said that similar programmes had also been unfurled in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

Marriyum said that anything that claimed lives should be done after appropriate thinking. She said that minor and major Thalassemia were transmitted to the children because of marriages between close relatives, particularly marriages between cousins which ultimately took their lives. The minister said that the parliament had done legislation under which screening had been made compulsory before marriage and a column had also been added to the wedlock form in that regard. She said that due to prior screening the real situation would be unraveled and if the process involved changing of the traditions it should be done without any hesitation. The minister said that nobody could even think of the pain that the parents had to endure.

The minister said that the institutions and donor agencies, especially WHO had done a sterling job in the domain of health and education. She called upon the provincial governments and welfare trusts to extend all possible help to them in health and education related issues.