Baku - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday made it clear that Islamabad will not be allowed to be locked down and the development of the country will keep its pace.

“Our objective is to run Pakistan. But certain elements want to lock down it. Governments come and go. We are working for the development of Pakistan,” he said this while talking to Pakistani journalists on breakfast table in Azerbaijan capital.

“Imran Khan wants to keep Islamabad shut but we want to keep it open. Islamabad will not be locked down. It will stay open. Those hampering national development will not be tolerated at any cost,” he went on to add.

The prime minister said his government had introduced a new culture of political tolerance in the country as they respected mandate of every party.

“The PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) formed government in Sindh and we respected it. Similarly, we have respected MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) as an opposition party. Even unethical language is used in KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) where we also respected the public mandate,” he added.

To a question, the PM said Kashmir is core issue between Pakistan and India, and the dispute was the main cause of unrest in the region. India, he said, must show seriousness for its resolution and honour its commitment, under the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Pakistan offered holding of dialogue on the outstanding issues on several times but India did not reciprocate, he said, adding if India was serious in resolving the issues, Pakistan would talk to it.

“If Indian Premier (Narendra Modi) is serious for talks and he keeps Kashmir issue included in the dialogue (agenda) then we are also ready for talks,” he added.

He said Pakistan was a peace-loving country and expressed his regret over baseless Indian allegations regarding the Uri incident. He reiterated that no infiltration took place on the Line of Control (LoC).

Incidents like Uri are reaction to Indian forces atrocities in Occupied Kashmir, he underlined. To a query, he replied that he was deeply moved by the sentiments of the father of Burhan Wani.

Nawaz Sharif vowed to make Pakistan move forward on the path of progress and prosperity. “We have broken back of terrorists in the country. Economic situation has improved in the country. Improvement is coming in Karachi situation,” he observed.

The government was pursuing uniform policies for all provinces, the tapping of coal reserves in Sindh while work on Greenline project in Karachi was another indication, he added.

Nawaz Sharif said CPEC would be completed on fast track basis and refuted the impression work on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor had slowed down. Politicking on CPEC should be avoided, he said. China has also expressed satisfaction over pace of work on this project, he added.

He said the CPEC would be a harbinger of fast track development in the country as a number of energy, infrastructure and power projects were being completed throughout its length and breadth.

To a question, the Prime Minister said work on several energy projects was underway throughout the country. About 10,000MW power would be added to the national grid by end of the government’s term in 2018, bringing the cost of electricity further down, besides helping to overcome the power shortages.

Within one year, there was marked decline in the power outages and price of electricity, he said, adding the industry was now getting uninterrupted power supply.

He said the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project would be functional soon, moreover work on coal and LNG based projects would also be completed. “We are going to start work on Dasoo power project this year. Land for Diamer Bhasha dam has been purchased at the cost of Rs 105 billion.”

Proposal for increasing prices of gas has come to him but he will not accept it, he remarked. “We are only thinking about Pakistan and within few years, the countrymen will witness a rapid progress and development owing to the policies of his government,” he added.

Later, in a meeting with Speaker of Azerbaijan Parliament (Milli Mejlis) Mr Ogtay Asadov, Prime Minister Nawaz said that leadership level contacts between Pakistan and Azerbaijan will give impetus to our economic, defence and cooperation in diverse fields.

“We will work together at bilateral and multilateral levels to achieve our shared goals. Our two governments have vibrant democracies and closer cooperation between the parliaments of both the countries will strengthen governmental level efforts to enhance economic cooperation”, he further said.

The PM was received by the speaker on his arrival at Milli Mejlis. The speaker briefed him regarding the working of parliament. Nawaz thanked the speaker for providing the opportunity to visit the parliament. “We have very strong fraternal relations. We had extremely fruitful sessions with the President and the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan which provided valuable opportunities to consider enhancing cooperation with Azerbaijan in various fields,” the PM said.

“I was honoured to receive the honorary doctorate degree conferred by the Rector of Baku State University. Accepts our heartiest felicitations on the national day of Azerbaijan Republic falling on the 18th of October,” he added.

“Pakistan appreciates Azerbaijan’s continued support to Pakistan on Kashmir issue. The mutual support of both the countries for each other on the issues of Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir is a testimony to our strong relations,” the Premier said.

The Azri speaker said Pakistan and Azerbaijan have fraternal relations based on shared history and culture. “Your visit will immensely enhance the bilateral relations between our two countries. I am confident that your meetings with the President and Prime Minister of Azerbaijan were fruitful. Pakistan’s most valued support to Azerbaijan on issues of our national interest is held in the greatest  esteem,” he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also visited Fakhri Khiyban (Alley of Honor) where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of Hayder Aliyev former president of Azerbaijan. He visited the Alley of Martyrs at Shahidlar Khiyabani, Baku where he paid homage to the martyrs of Azeri freedom struggle.