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There should be no double standards: Nawaz Sharif

03 December, 2014

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LONDON/ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday that the government is ready to hold talks with Imran Khan “if he shuns double standards”.

The prime minister said there should be no double standards as on the side of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), noting that on the one hand the party was talking about resumption of talks while on the other hand its politics of sit-ins was going on. Nawaz Sharif regretted that the threats about the closure of the whole country were unfortunate. The prime minister said that he as leader of the House, and the leader of opposition in the National Assembly were “creating an ideal democratic rapport” by consulting on vital issues leaving behind the politics of 90s dominated by political vendetta.

Talking to the media, Prime Minister Nawaz said re-enactment of “abhorring political game reminiscent of the 90s by certain political leaders was unfortunate”. To a question, he said that he and the leader of the opposition were consulting positively over the appointment of the new chief election commissioner. About the resumption of negotiations with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, he said they strongly believed in settling the issues through talks. “We are democratic people. The negotiations should be constructive. If they want to talk, we would have no objection,” he added.

Nawaz Sharif rejected reports about his proposed meeting with Imran Khan, saying that the PTI chief had a misunderstanding. The prime minister said that the condition of education, police and healthcare systems in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was pathetic. The PTI, he said, should first concentrate on the province from where it was elected by the people and then talk about Pakistan. He said the PML-N government would take the country to new heights of progress and prosperity leaving behind the politics of sit-ins.

Prime Minister Nawaz said that the government was fully concentrating on the welfare of overseas Pakistanis. To a query about the London Conference on Afghanistan, the prime minister said that during the visit of Afghan president to Pakistan, he held very constructive talks with him and now he had arrived in London on the invitation of his British counterpart. He termed the conference a continuity of the understanding developed between the two leaders.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Tuesday that the government was ready to hold talks with the PTI. He said that the government did not want to repeat the bitterness of the past and will resume talks from the point they were left at. Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Dar said that the government wanted a solution of current political turmoil through talks. He said that the government was sincere but sincerity should be displayed from both sides. Ishaq Dar said that the name of chief election commissioner (CEC) will be finalized by December 5. “The name will be finalized between government and Opposition Leader Syed Khurshid Shah by (Wednesday,” Dar said. He said that if the prime minister and opposition leader failed to agree upon one name then the decision will be made by parliamentary committee.

Dar asked PTI to call off the strike on December 5. He said that strike would be detrimental for the economy. “Traders have rejected PTI’s call for strike,” he said. Ishaq Dar said that the government was trying to strengthen and stabilize the economy. Country’s economy would have been in even better a situation had there been no sit-ins, he claimed. The finance minister also urged business to take advantage of huge potential for export of food items to Russian Federation. He said Russia has banned agricultural products from Europe in reaction to sanctions imposed on his country, providing a window of opportunity to our farmers and businessmen.

He said Russia used to import agricultural products worth $16 billion from Europe and Pakistan can capture a share from it. The minister said during his recent visit to Russia, fruitful talks were held for mutual cooperation in trade, industry and investment. He said the Russia company that set up Karachi Steel Mills offered to extend support for restructuring of the Mills and its expansion programme. A Russian bank offered $1 billion for restructuring of the Mills and other projects.

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