General elections to be held at scheduled time under new census: Ahsan Iqbal

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LONDON, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Measures Prof Ahsan Iqbal on Friday said the general elections would be held at their scheduled time under the new census and Pakistan could not afford political instability.

While addressing a press conference here, he said everyone has to come together for economic improvement and the exports have to be increased rapidly. He said the government is taking steps for improvements in all sectors.

With regard to recent development in the Punjab Assembly, the minister said Imran Khan had ended the provincial government with his own hands, “which we are happy about”.

Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan is facing a difficult situation at the moment, the flood damage in Pakistan is estimated at US$16 billion. The friendly countries are announcing their support to Pakistan and, the whole world has shown solidarity with Pakistan at Geneva Conference pledging over $10 billion in support to the country.

“There are people in our country who are constantly talking about default, although we are going through difficult situations, there is no risk of default of the economy,” he said, adding that the talkers are hostile towards Pakistan, they should do politics later, first the country must be brought out of the crisis.

Ahsan Iqbal said the mines of the previous government are being defused; all possible measures are being taken to increase exports, and the export engine has to be activated at full speed. The export of $32 billion has to be taken to $100 billion annually.

He said the results of the new census will be published on April 30; the whole process will be completed in August when the assemblies complete their term and, until then, the elections could not be held. He said this was not the time to create instability in Pakistan, so the elections will be held on time for unity.

Ahsan Iqbal said the economy of Pakistan is standing on a strong foundation and will soon come out of the economic crisis. He said that despite the economic challenges, Pakistan will not default in any case.

Talking about the damage caused by floods in Pakistan, he said that last year, more than 1,700 people died during the torrential rains and floods across the country. He said that rehabilitation and reconstruction work is going on in the flood-affected areas, but it will take two to three years for complete rehabilitation.