NANKANA SAHIB/LAHORE - Expressing his concerns over the election of Senate chairman, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday called upon the opposition parties to nominate a new consensus chairman of the upper house.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of Rai Mansab Ali Khan Kharal Bridge in Nankana Sahib, Abbasi alleged that recently elected Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani holds no respect as votes were bought in his favour.

The prime minister, however, stressed that the matter should be resolved amicably to avoid disgrace. “The Senate chairman also serves as the acting president and it is a disgrace to the country that a man who bought votes became the leader of the upper house. Whether the country could earn respect through such tactics!” he questioned.

He said such election did not enjoy any respect. He said there was need to elect a consensus candidate as the Senate reflected the Federation.

Abbasi said in July this year the masses would give a clear decision while keeping these issues in view.

Abbasi said the PML-N always stood as guard for the democratic system like rock-solid political force, facing all conspiracies and Dharna-driven politics during the last five years and successfully delivered on all its promises.

He said only elected government could deliver which had sincerity to serve the masses. It was only the PML-N which proved this sincerity by serving the masses in the last five years, on the other hand, the countrymen witnessed Dharna politics and the specific legal cases, he added.

He said the government worked despite all odds and challenges. The specific legal cases, including Panama Papers, eventually brought instability in the country otherwise it would have been on the path of rapid progress. He called upon the voters to understand the significance of all these happenings.

Abbasi said it was strange that those persons who had delivered for the country, were punished and were engaged in litigation. He said the PML-N government tackled all these ploys and was resolved to eradicate evils and solve public problems.

He said several opportunities did emerge in the past but the party religiously stood steadfast to democratic norms and did not make compromises like NRO. “We stood for democratic norms. No one should doubt the masses’ decision, only through it, the country can progress. Masses will decide again in July this year,” he added.

The PML-N government in the past was ousted and now its president was removed through legal cases. Abbasi said it was his conviction that the history would not accept such cases and referred to the one decision in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s case which had never been accepted.

Despite all this, Nawaz Sharif abandoned the government in July last year but the people had not accepted it, he added.

The PML-N politics revolved around resolution of public issues, instead of stuffing pockets with money, he said, adding the opponents levelled different allegations against the PML-N government but the completion of development projects repudiated their false claims.

He called upon those who levelled allegations to prove their sincerity with the masses by citing execution of any major development project.

About power production, the prime minister said there was no loadshedding in the country and only those areas with power theft had to endure it. He said 85 percent consumers, paying bills, could not be burdened for the theft of others.

Abbasi said in this winter, the gas supply continued uninterrupted to domestic consumers, CNG sector and industry. The government had only imported 6,000 tons of urea as compared to previous 10,000 tons urea.

He also lauded performance of Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Abbasi said other link roads in the area besides Phool Nagar and Nankana motorway link would be constructed.

Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated the newly constructed 612-metre long Rai Mansab Ali Khan Kharal Bridge on River Ravi. The construction work on the bridge had been hitting snags during the previous government tenure but the PML-N government gave it priority and ensured funds for its completion.

During the monsoon, it was impossible for the people to cross the river and they had to cover a long distance to cross over. The bridge would also provide short access to Okara and Jaranwala, besides, facilitating vehicular traffic heading to GT Road on the right side.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of first CCV line and aluminum alloy manufacturing plant in Lahore’s Sunder Industrial Estate, Abbasi expressed his confidence that the democratic system in the country would keep on flourishing as there was no room for judicial martial law or any other coup.

He said in the upcoming general election in July, only the electorate would decide about the fate of next government and their decision would be accepted while the country's journey on the path of development and prosperity would continue.

He said the PML-N government faced energy and power challenges and the backlog of the previous governments, but it had solved the energy issues for next 15 years, with addition of 10,400MW of power into the national grid.

Abbasi also regretted that after 1999 coup a case was registered against Nawaz Sharif for establishment of Sunder Industrial Estate. He said it was an irony that those who served the country were punished instead of giving respect and hounour.

He wondered about those people who were rejected in the last general election by public, were preaching morality and integrity.

He said Pakistan had the huge potential to increase its export products by adhering to global quality and standard which were requisite for global competition.

The government had taken steps for facilitating the private sector investment with different incentives which led to increase in the business activities and eventually boosted the exports, he said and added the investment activities paved the ways for creation of jobs and generation of tax revenues.

He said the government had provided gas, power and infrastructure facilities so that the cost of production could be reduced. He stressed upon maintaining the quality and standards in the production by bringing the local products at par with the international competitors to attract investment in the country.

Abbasi observed Pakistan was a market for billions of dollars investment and certain issues like tariff re-balance, cost of production and taxation system faced by the industry would be resolved.

He announced that tax incentives package would be announced prior to next fiscal budget. He emphasised that the private sector and government required working hand in hand to achieve export targets.

"Industries play a vital role in the progress and prosperity of any country. We want to ensure stability of policies as continuity of policies is of high importance."

Abbasi hoped country's industry would focus on improving quality as latest technology and efficiency not only help in growing business activities but also help earn good profit.

He said government was striving to achieve a balance in import and export through short and long term policies. He said the availability of energy had been settled and the growth rate was hovering around six percent which would further surge.

Abbasi assured the government wanted to further strengthen the investors’ policies by seeking input from the opposition. He said the industrial estate in the provincial capital made him happy that work was being carried out here as per by-laws which investors always look for.

Abbasi appreciated the contribution of the private sector in meeting the energy demands of the nation and introducing new technologies for local manufacturing products to reduce reliance on imports.

He also congratulated Fast Cables for establishing state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and mentioned that such projects play an important role in national prosperity through creating jobs.

Fast Cables Director Kamal Mian, in his welcome note, said the first CCV manufacturing facility could produce medium voltage cables up to 33 KV using the latest dry curing technology.

NAWAZ DIRECTS FOR PEOPLE-FRIENDLY BUDGET

Prime Minister Abbasi on Saturday met Nawaz Sharif who directed him to prepare a people’s friendly budget for the next year.

During a meeting between the two at Jati Umra, Nawaz directed him to take input from the senior ministers in preparing the budget guidelines and said the budget should be prepared on such recommendations that could benefit PML-N in next polls.

Nawaz also directed to avoid new taxes and said the salaries of the government employees be increased from 10 to 15 percent while pensions by 15 to 20 percent. “More and more relief should be given in the budget to the masses and the development budget should also be increased,” he said.