ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that next general election in the country will be held within 15 months and his goal meanwhile would be to address the challenges of inflation and poverty.
“My vision is to rebuild Pakistan and try my best to decrease poverty and cut the budget of government sector to ensure austerity,” he said in an interview with Turkish state-television TRT, during his three-day official visit to Ankara.
PM Sharif said his government ahead of elections would take short-term measures to address the problems faced by the general public.
However, he stressed that if the people’s will brings his party to power in next election, a full-fledged development agenda would be launched to deal with issues such as unemployment and poverty.
The prime minister said the global skyrocketing prices of fuel had compelled his government to increase the cost of oil and gas.
Asked about the political situation in Pakistan, he said for the first time in the country’s history, a no-confidence vote had succeeded.
“This is a constitutional and legal transition which has been provided in the Constitution. It is a big step forward, rather a quantum jump,” he said.
From this point onward, he stressed that this would be an acceptable norm in Pakistan that if a majority of parliamentarians feel to have a particular government, they should be allowed to vote freely under the law of land.
He pointed that previously the similar situations witnessed martial laws and military interventions.
“But now, this has changed the entire ballgame and must be supported,” he said.
The prime minister said Pakistan and Turkey were pursuing the roadmap of regional cooperation with immense understanding and unity existed between the two leaderships.
Terming his Ankara visit as “phenomenal”, he said the people-to-people bond between the two nations was grounded in history.
He mentioned the pre-partition time where the Muslims of Indian sub-continent supported the Turkish movement.
“The relationship between our forefathers has become a permanent brotherhood for the days to come,” he said.
On Pak-Turk defence ties, he said Pakistan desired joint collaboration in military projects and added that the launch of MILGEM warship was in line with the same vision.
On setting the target of achieving $5 billion trade with Turkey, he said the objective was to expand the scope of trade and investment in diverse fields for the benefit of two nations.
On Turkey’s anti-terrorism steps against YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria, he said since Pakistan had been a big victim of terrorism, it supported the Turkish leadership on its efforts to eradicate the menace.
PM Sharif emphasized on a trilateral arrangement among China, Pakistan and Turkey to join the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“The participation of Turkey in CPEC will translate into regional economic prosperity of the region,” he said, adding that he had proposed the same to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He said Turkey’s vast expertise in road infrastructure and energy projects could make the multi-billion regional project a win-win.
To a question regarding Pakistan maintaining a balance between Turkey and Gulf states, he expressed satisfaction that Turkey’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had improved.
“This is important for the global peace and will become very fruitful for the entire region,” he said.
The prime minister said Pakistan would support the subjugated nations including Kashmiris and Palestinians struggling for their rights.
“It is not a question of Israel or India, but of showing moral support for such people. Peace will not return to the region until their demands addressed,” he said.
PM Sharif said Pakistan was engaged with the International Monetary Fund to put the economy of the country on right track, which suffered hugely in last three years.
On Pakistan’s position on Russian invasion in Ukraine, he said, “Our unwavering stance is that we stand for independent rights of societies,” he said, stressing the need for both parties to come on negotiation table.