PAKPATTAN: President General Pervez Musharraf Saturday said the government believes in freedom of media and supremacy of judiciary and assured that it would be ensured at all cost.
Addressing a public meeting here after inaugurating a Rs. 4 billion project of Sui Gas for the South Punjab, the President said a conspiracy was being hatched against him and the country and vowed that he would defeat these intrigues with the support of the masses.
The President said he had full faith and confidence in the nation and with its support he would overcome those who are trying to hatch a conspiracy against the country and him.
He asked the people not to come on the roads and agitate on the instigation of the elements who are hatching a conspiracy which will hurt the country’s development.
Regarding the reference against the non-functional chief justice, the President said it was not his personal issue, adding that he had no personal differences with Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
He said there should be no politics on the issue as it is purely a judicial matter.
The President said the government had sent a reference against the chief justice to him and as President it was his constitutional duty to send the same to the Supreme Judicial Council.
He said, “It is purely a constitutional matter.“
He said that he only acted upon the advice of the government on the issue of reference against the Chief Justice.
The President said that some people were politicizing the issue and he warned them that the issue of reference against the chief justice should not be used to conspire against him.
President Musharraf said he would accept the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council on the issue.
President Musharraf said he had already strongly condemned the unfortunate incident of attack on a private TV channel ‘Geo’ at Islamabad. The people involved in this incident should be punished, he added.
He said an investigation has been launched into the incident to find out who was behind it.
The President said the matter would be thoroughly investigated as an attempt was made to malign him.
Freedom of Media
He said he was a man of principles and firm believer in the freedom of media and, therefore, it was unthinkable that he would act against the press freedom.
President Musharraf said, “I granted freedom which the media enjoys today.”
He said there was no private tv channel six years ago except the state-run Pakistan television. He said the government has given complete freedom to the press and electronic media. The government could not even think of curbing or curtailing this freedom.
President Musharraf said the country is on the path of sustainable economic development. He said those conspiring against the country’s socio-economic development would never succeed in their nefarious designs.
He said those creating problems and hatching conspiracies have malafide intentions and they do not want the country to move forward and prosper.
The President said these elements are dismayed and disappointed over the fast track development of the country in the last six years and are now trying to create hurdles to continued march on the path of progress and prosperity.
He said these elements are out to create problems for the country because they could not achieve what has been achieved in the past six years.
The President said he has been serving the nation sincerely adding,”We have not only steered the country out of deep crisis but through prudent economic policies put it on the road to progress and prosperity.”
President Musharraf said that the sufi saint, Baba Masood Fariduddin Shakarganj promoted the message of peace and love. The great saint neither used Islam for the promotion of his own interests nor issued decree of being disbeliever against anybody, he added.
He said that Baba Farid highlighted the significance of brotherhood and rights of people through his poetry.
The President said, “We have to eradicate the menace of extremism from the society.”
Referring to the killing of Punjab Social Welfare Minister Zille Huma Usman in Gujranwala in the name of religion, he said that the killer only stigmatized the name of Islam through this act.
He said that certain elements instigating the youth to carry out terrorist acts like suicide attack were only harming Islam.
President Musharraf said a comprehensive plan was being implemented for development of infrastructure including roads, railways, airports and seaports and provision of basic amenities including electricity, gas, clean drinking water and sewerage to people across the country.
He said this all-around development has been possible because of availability of funds as a result of prudent economic policies of the government.
The President said,”contrary to the past when development funds for the whole country were not more than Rs 70 billion, today Punjab alone is spending Rs 100 billion on development schemes while federal government has development funds to the tune of Rs 415 billion.”
Reiterating his commitment to continue to work for the development of the country, raising living standard of the people by providing basic amenities and alleviation of poverty, the President urged the people to extend full support to him so that the country keeps on moving on the road to progress and prosperity.
He also called upon the people to benefit from the government’s Rozgar Scheme under which Rs 15,000 to Rs. 100,000 easy loans are available for small businesses.
This programme will help check the unemployment and poverty, particularly in rural areas, he added.
The President said the government was committed to provide electricity and gas facility across the country, adding that work is in progress to provide gas facility to every Tehsil and the villages that come in the way of gas pipeline.
Similarly, he said, the government will provide safe and clean drinking water and water filtration plants would be installed in every village across the country having over 100 houses.
The President said, various projects of health and education are being carried out in every part of the country.
President Musharraf said the people of three districts of Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar and Vehari and 11 Tehsils besides other towns and villages along the gas pipeline would benefit from the gas supply project.
He said gas would also be available for use as CNG which is environment friendly and inexpensive fuel.
The President said it is the right of the people to get basic amenities like electricity, gas and water adding that a comprehensive plan is being implemented under which every village with 10 houses would be provided electricity and every town with 100 houses a filtration plant so that people have clean drinking water.
The President also announced sewerage and water supply schemes for Pakpattan and Arifwala for which Rs 200 million will be provided by Punjab Government and an equal amount by the federal government.
Appreciating the efforts of Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi for the betterment of people, the President asked him to give proprietary rights to dwellers of 21 Katchi Abadies of Pakpattan.
He also announced setting up of Poly Technic Institutes at Pakpattan and Arifwala besides upgradation of Pakpattan Railway station and provision of facilities for promotion of sports in the area.
President Musharraf also announced provision of Rs 2.5 million to each union council of Pakpattan for development schemes besides asking the Chief Minister for provision of funds for widening of Sahiwal-Pakpattan and Pakpattan-Arifwala roads.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi announced that people living in dilapidated houses in vicinity of the shrine of Baba Masood Fariduddin Shakar Gunj would be re-located to a new housing colony in Pakpattan city.
He said that Punjab was all set to reap a record wheat crop this year, adding that government would carry out a project for the remodelling of Pakpattan Lower Canal and Pakpattan Upper Canal at a cost of Rs 630 million.
Pervaiz Elahi also announced 10 percent decrease in the water rate (abiana) for the tillers along the tail-end of canal.
He said that government was committed to provide quality healthcare and education facilities to the people in the far-flung areas of the province.
He said that 12 high schools and 20 middle schools in the Pakpattan district would be upgraded.
The Chief Minister said that all facilities at District Headquarters Hospital, Pakpattan and Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, Arifwala would be upgraded.
He said it was owing to the economic reforms introduced by the federal government that Punjab has ample funds for development.
“We will spend these funds on the welfare of the masses,” he said.
Referring to recent lawyers convention in Lahore, he said that lawyers community had supported government.
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