Home Latest News Interim P.M. ‘Certain’ of Elections within 4 Months

Interim P.M. ‘Certain’ of Elections within 4 Months

In interview, Kakar says government working on multiple fronts to provide relief to electricity consumers, noting IMF has no qualms about targeted subsidies

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy PID

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Tuesday reiterated that he is “certain” that general elections will be held within three to four months, adding the incumbent government is in place for a “limited” time.

“I think within a few months—few months can be translated into three, three-and-half or four, that needs to be seen—this will conclude and we will go to the electoral process,” he told Dawn News in an interview. To the interviewer pressing him on whether he was sure of this, he said: “I am not hopeful; I am certain.”

Stressing the incumbent government was in place for a limited time, he said it was prioritizing certain policy issues aimed at laying a foundation that the next government could proceed. Nonetheless, he acknowledged, the former government had empowered the caretaker setup through legislation, requiring it to act differently from previous interim setups.

To a question, the prime minister said that even though President Arif Alvi’s term expires next week, he would continue in office until his replacement’s election. However, he added, if Alvi voluntarily chose to step down, the Senate chairman would fill the slot.

On inflated electricity bills, which have triggered nationwide protests, Kakar said the government was coming developing both short- and mid-term solutions to the crisis. This, he explained, could include converting oil-based power plants to run on local coal and privatizing some power distribution companies. These steps, he asserted, would help curb power theft through introduction of new technology and would also attract investment.

Apart from DISCOs, he said the privatization of several state-owned enterprises was also under consideration. He clarified that the International Monetary Fund—whose stringent demands have been blamed for the electricity bills—did not bar targeted subsidies for disadvantaged socioeconomic classes, adding the government wished to support tax-paying economic classes. To a question on whether the Pakistan Steel Mills was included in the list of entities to be privatized, he said he couldn’t discuss specific companies, but it was all part of the overall privatization strategy.

Referring to the ongoing sugar price hikes, he said the government had asked the provinces to activate price control committees and warned of a crackdown on hoarders.

On the Special Investment Facilitation Council, he said it had been formed to address concerns of investors, reiterating that Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Qatar and Bahrain had already sent proposals, which were being examined. Once approved, he said, formal agreements would be inked in November or December. He lamented that the fear of NAB inquiries had hampered investment in the past.

To a question on whether his government accepted responsibility for all administrative matters, including the arrest and release of political leaders and activists he said: “While courts have the right to interpret the rules and laws in the larger picture as per the situation, the state can’t stay away from these matters. However, some decisions are wrong, while some are right when it comes to the current situation, but we own everything that has been happening.”

Related Articles

Leave a Comment