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LAHORE: Federal Education Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Punjab President Shafqat Mehmood has said that the PTI government is ready to hold the local bodies elections; the Election Commission of Pakistan will announce the schedule.

“The Local Bodies elections likely to be held in May and Prime Minister Imran Khan always pushed the provinces to hold the elections at the earliest.

The PTI is all geared to contest the LB elections and they are making the preparations including restructuring of the party in Punjab,” he said while addressing the media during a luncheon hosted by PTI Punjab Information Secretary and MPA Mussarat Jamshed Cheema in honour of journalists here on Saturday.

To another question, he said if the opposition parties have reservations over the local government bill then they can voice their concerns when the bill arrives in the House; “it is their democratic right to differ with the government”.

When asked about the meeting between Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N President Shehbez Sharif held in Lahore and their plan to topple the government, he said that from the day the PTI took over the government, the opposition parties have been chalking plans to remove them (the PTI government) from the power, but it was only limited to the plans.

“They announced on several occasions to hold a long march, but no such march took place. Their efforts to oust the government always failed and in future, they will fail again. Thus, such meetings will make no difference to them,” he added.

On electronic voting machines, he said that the opposition parties (in particular the PML-N) fear the new voting system as they will not be able to stuff the balloting boxes with fake ballots which was the case during the 2013 general elections.

“The electronic voting machines will ensure fair and transparent elections under which the opposition can never win the elections,” he added.

To another question, he admitted that there is a need to improve the accountability system in order to put criminals behind the bar. He questioned the Sharif family’s source of income; “if they do not have businesses then how did they receive money from a third person”.

On Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan, he said that he would have returned to the country by now if he had the true intention to do so. “Since he went abroad he received no medical treatment; he is seen busy visiting factories and eating sandwiches,” he added.

The minister said that The PTI government’s efforts are yielding positive results and conditions are improving in the country.

“We will soon launch Ehsaas Card, which will help the poor strata of society. The dream of making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state is becoming a reality where the poor people will have access to good health facilities and assistance will be provided to the needy people,” he added.

Commenting on the Kashmir Day, he said that the Indian occupied forces are committing brutalities against the innocent Kashmiri people and they have turned the Kashmir valley into a jail.

“We strongly condemn the inhuman behaviour of the Indian government and assure the Kashmir people that Pakistan will always support their just cause and will never abandon them.”

Federal State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib, provincial ministers Sibtain Khan and Ejaz Alam Augustine, Punjab government Spokesman Hasaan Khawar, Jamshid Iqbal Cheema and PTI Lahore President Sheikh Imtiaz Mehmood were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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