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Let’s not politicise population census: Ahsan

KARACHI: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said if there were any anomalies in the population census, these should be pointed out but politics on the issue should be avoided in the larger national interest.

Talking to reporters during his visit to the Pakistan Coast Guards Headquarters here on Tuesday, he said the government was determined to turn Pakistan into an Asian Tiger. Ahsan said he wanted to convey a message to the world that CPEC was a national project of Pakistan based on the Pakistan-China friendship and no one could roll it back. “This project is bound to succeed,” he said. 

Ahsan Iqbal said a handful of ‘Buqrats and Suqrats’ should stop creating misunderstandings about the CPEC among the public, adding that these people could not harm the Pak-China friendship by making negative comments and writing essays.

The minister said CPEC will prove to be a game changer and all its economic objectives will be achieved successfully. He appealed to the opposition parties not to make CPEC controversial, assuring that the fruits of the project will be equally shared by all the provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Fata.

He said China was not playing the role of East India Company in Pakistan but acting as its iron brother. He said the purpose of CPEC was not to harm business in Pakistan but to strengthen it. He said the country’s armed forces were fully capable of responding to Indian ceasefire violations in an effective manner adding, “the enemy wants to divert our attention from the CPEC.”

The minister said the group involved in an attack on the MQM-Pakistan leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan had been neutralised to a great extent and some absconding members of the group were being pursued, he said and added the whole group will be busted soon.

He said the world had changed and entered into an era of geo-economics from geo-politics. He said sovereignty and prosperity of countries was dependent on economy and economic success. “A strong economy guarantees a strong defense. We will improve border management through the civil armed forces. We will turn our civil armed forces into a modern force so that the security needs of Pakistan could be fulfilled.”

Ahsan Iqbal said he will continue work from where former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had left, adding that continuity and improvement in this policy should be the aim. “We will not reverse the policy. Chaudhry Nisar was implementing the policies of Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N.

The prime minister has been changed but not the government. We will continue with the policies of the government and spare no effort in their effective implementation,” he said.

He said the civil government and armed forces will ensure success of Operation Raddul Fasaad. “The case of the arrested RAW agent Kulbhushan Jhadev is currently at the International Court of Justice. The government and the military are pursuing this case. We are watching the proceedings and will effectively present our case,” he added. “It is abundantly clear that our neighboring country wants to create disruption in Pakistan through terrorism and the only purpose of this is to sabotage the CPEC.”

China has successfully presented Pakistan’s case, while Russia and the European Union have also praised its role in the war on terror, he said. “The organisations mentioned by President Donald Trump are banned in Pakistan. We are against them and  consider them illegal.” He said the whole world acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices and successes in the war on terror which were unprecedented. “We cannot ignore the recognition of the whole world for Pakistan after  listening to President Donald Trump.”

He said the positive economic indicators were being appreciated by the international community and aid agencies. Ahsan said the achievements of the National Action Plan and Raddul Fasaad were being consolidated to ensure that terrorism and extremism were eliminated.

Ahsan said the federal government will continue to play its role for peace in Karachi through the Rangers, adding that the role of police in maintenance of law and order was central. He said the dispute over the issue of IGP Sindh was unfortunate adding that he had met the Sindh chief minister and governor on Monday and was hopeful that the issue will be settled in a good manner. “I am positive that there will be no crisis and the police will play their role for restoration of law and order in Karachi by working alongside the Sindh Rangers.”

He said the youth will not be allowed to play into the hands of enemies and a mechanism was being drawn to keep a vigilant eye on the activities and behavior of students and enrollment at the institutions of higher education.

Ahsan Iqbal said the civil institutions and armed forces will jointly defeat the evil designs of terrorists and extremists and will come out victorious in the ongoing operations. He appreciated the services of armed forces and paid rich tribute to the martyrs who laid down their life in the line of duty


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