Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq has shunned the impression that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was given any “favour” when he provided biometric verification after his arrival at the Islamabad airport.
“No political benefit was given to Nawaz Sharif,” he said at a press conference in Islamabad on Monday that was centered on his five-day trip to China where he attended the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). “He is a Pakistani citizen and having biometric verification is his right.”
The PML-N supremo landed in Pakistan on October 21 after ending four years of his self-imposed exile. Nawaz signed the petitions to revive the appeals in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references.
Upon his arrival, the PTI slammed the government and alleged that the interim setup paved the way for the “nation’s criminal” return.
The interim prime minister defended the decision to conduct verification and stated that the birthplace of Nawaz was Pakistan. He wondered what “extra measures” were taken for this biometric. “Will you need the PM’s Office permission when you go to the NADRA office?”
When asked, he said that excitement for elections has started and the election date would be announced soon.
He wondered the reason for presenting a “normal database procedure” in such a way that there was apparently no level playing field. “Do you remember the level playing field in 2018 when a political front was formed titled South Punjab? Do you remember?” the prime minister said while commenting on the issue of equal political space for parties in the country.
Kakar expressed the confidence that Chinese private entities would make investments in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, with a focus on relocating industries and fostering cooperation in the agricultural and mining sectors.
He added that the Chinese investment would give impetus to the country’s economic growth.
“We have returned home from China with three slogans of consultation, cooperation, and coordination and our focus will remain on it to further expand the bilateral cooperation,” Kakar said.
The PM pointed out that 20 agreements were signed during his visit to Beijing and added that after a long time such a big number of MOUs were signed.
When asked, he said that Pakistan desired better connectivity in the changing geo-strategic environment and it was in this connection that the meeting was held.
“Foreign relations between countries continue to change. There are times that the relations get frail, but then the countries do have to cooperate in changing circumstances.”
To a question whether agreements with China will be continued by the next elected government, Kakar said that it was the state, not individuals or politicians who sign them therefore governments should implement the agreements for credibility in the international sphere.
On cessation of hostilities in Gaza, he said that Pakistan was working in collaboration with all stakeholders and regional and international players.
To a question about journalist Arshad Sharif’s murder case, the PM said that he talked to the Kenyan president about this and he has expressed sound commitment that the Kenyan government would try its best to find the culprits and address the weaknesses on their part.
“The investigation and its follow-up is one of the top priorities of our foreign office and it is pursuing it diligently.”
(With input from Radio Pakistan)