LAHORE (APP) – Punjab Information Minister Ahmed Waqas Tuesday said that no one would be allowed to disrupt law and order on PML-N leader Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s return to the country on Friday (July 13) and any disorder would be dealt with an iron hand.
“The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will arrest the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, while the Punjab government will ensure peaceful environment in the city,” he said in an interview with APP.
The minister said the caretaker government was committed to ensure free, fair and transparent elections as per the guidelines of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
About stoppage of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhuto’s convoy, the Information Minister said the local police took the action on account of security concerns. The place the PPP leader intended to visit was not included in the schedule communicated to the police.
“However, a committee has been constituted by the Punjab chief minister to look into the matter as per the ECP’s instructions,” he added.
He said the political leaders were free to move anywhere they wished to, but the information in that regard must be communicated to the provincial Home Department to ensure their security.
“The political leadership and candidates should adhere to the guidelines given by the local police and they should not take these as an act to disrupt their election campaigns,” he remarked.
To a question he said the Rawalpindi Police had given ample time to Capt (Retd) Muhammad Safdar to hand himself over to the National accountability Bureau (NAB) officials without resorting to tear-gas shelling or use of force.
The police showed restraint in order to avoid any law and order situation, as a mob had gathered.
However, he said legal action would be taken against all those who had tried to disrupt peace.
Waqas reiterated the caretaker government’s resolve to ensure that nobody could influence the election results in his official capacity. Chief Minister Dr Hassan Askari had already set up a complaint cell to address such grievances of political parties.
Moreover, it was impossible to influence elections in the presence of a robust media, he added.
The information minister said the government would ensure speedy flow of information to the media so that election results could be announced at the earliest.
About the ECP’s code of conduct, he said the district government was ensuring the candidates complied with it. The banners violating the code of conduct were being removed immediately, he added.
Asked about the increased education and health budgets by the caretaker governments, he said though the interim setup did not have legislative power but it could give policy guidelines to the elected government to follow.
About recent flooding of Lahore due to heavy rainfall, he said it was wrong to blame the caretaker government for the failure of draining the water from the city. The Lahore’s obsolete drainage system had embarrassed successive governments. The flooding due to rain water was not a new phenomenon for Lahore as it had happened during the previous years as well, he added.
However, he accepted the fact that Lahore received unprecedented rainfall a fortnight ago.
The minister mentioned that the population of Lahore had increased manifold, but the drainage and sanitation system had not been modernised.
Regarding development work undertaken by the local government representatives, the information minister said the provincial finance department had informed the government that no development funds had been released to the local bodies except the employees’ salaries.