Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Wednesday vowed to continue the fight against terrorism “no matter what”, asserting that surrender was not an option.
“Pakistan will not surrender in front of radicalism, extremism [and] intolerance … this is our home and we will run the country on our terms,” he maintained.
The interim premier’s statement comes a day after six soldiers embraced martyrdom during a gun battle with terrorists in the general area of Asman Manza of South Waziristan district.
The military’s media wing said in a press release yesterday that the troops effectively engaged with the terrorists, killing four of them, while two others were injured.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi today, PM Kakar said: “Those who have misconceptions that such attacks will tire us should know that we will never forget our martyrs or their sacrifices and won’t refrain from such sacrifices in future.
“We will, in fact, pursue them.”
He pointed out that Pakistan was spending its own money, collected through taxes, on the country’s law enforcement agencies. “We are not fighting on donations,” the premier said.
PM Kakar stressed that all the law enforcement personnel, whether they were combatting external aggression or were playing their role for internal security, were honoured and respected by the entire nation.
“We pay them for their jobs through respect. Money only fulfils their needs and we are doing that … but the nation is paying them through honour and respect.
“The suicide bombers … the dogs of hell … do they think that my soldiers sitting in Waziristan, Balochistan or any other corner of the country don’t know what God has in store for them,” he asked.
PM Kakar went on to assert that Pakistan had a clear message for those who are spreading violence: “We will keep fighting against the misguided.”
He also appreciated the joint efforts of the army, the civil administration and the local people for the Battagram rescue operation a day ago, which saved the lives of all eight people stuck in a cable car.
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PM urges business community to ‘share’
In a meeting with the businessmen in Karachi earlier today, PM Kakar urged the business community to “share their blessings” and “listen to each other” while advising them to avoid tax evasion for the nation’s collective good.
He said, “We will bring optimism and we will bring positive change. How? I assure you that we will do it together.
“We need to start by listening to each other. We will listen to you (traders) and you should listen to the state and the government,” he added.
The prime minister said, “The blessings one gets are not for an individual but for shareholding — it is your choice whether you share in your family, home, neighbourhood, province, country or the subcontinent.”
He further highlighted that tax evasion occurred because the “dispensation of money is not used correctly” and that “people rationalise that their money is not for flamboyant use by others”. The premier noted that this had “generated a vicious cycle in the country”.
Stating the government’s economic strategy, the premier said, “We plan on taxing people and using those taxes to provide for the underprivileged. This is our aim. If we do not fulfil our aims, then we are to blame.”
Noting that some in the business community may think that the government is heading towards “unnecessary extortion” and that services are not being delivered in the manner they should be, Kakar admitted that the country’s “system incentivises corruption”.
On the challenges that the country faces, he emphasised the need for a “consistent and secure supply of cheap energy” for industrialisation. He highlighted that otherwise, the nation would “not see anything other than a horizontal expansion of residential services” and housing schemes.
Kaker went on to state that the domestic energy resources were inadequate to fuel heavy industrialisation and transform the economy, while lamenting the lack of start-up companies in the country.
Noting that people residing in the Indus Basin were facing food security issues, he said it was the nation’s “collective inefficiency” that its people were living in a state of gloom.
The prime minister also asked if the business community could be proud of its reputation in the global supply market, highlighting that credibility issues were present and “larger good was eliminated for smaller profits”.
However, he expressed optimism in dealing with the country’s structural challenges and urged the nation to “discover a Pakistani dream and branding”.
Noting that people lamented the ongoing “brain drain”, PM Kakar referred to a past similar occurrence in the 1960s where those who had left India returned after 30-40 years as “brain assets”. He went on to appreciate overseas Pakistanis for their role in “rescuing” the local economy.
Speaking about Karachi, PM Kakar said, “Karachi, Karachiites and the business community — these are Pakistan’s glory. […] If this community and its contributions and activities are divorced from the country, then Pakistan would collapse as a society and state.”
He acknowledged that the business community would have various concerns — specifying electricity and gas issues — and vowed that the government would try to solve those.
‘Answers not found in slogans’
During his earlier address, PM Kakar said, “Please keep our mandate in mind, which is limited to only providing assistance during the election, while monitoring day-to-day governance issues and maintaining national and international agreements.”
He added that the government intended to fulfil its “limited responsibilities” and try to prevent any discontinuities from arriving till the new Parliament is elected and the country moves towards a “smooth transition”.
The prime minister noted that “raising slogans” would not lead to answers to the country’s issues, which could only be found after “careful deliberation in a serious manner”.
“There are mistakes from our side sometimes, which we will have to admit, and at other times, from yours.”
He further said that the government will design a mechanism based on what it can do in a “limited time”, and also consider if it could “leave a blueprint for the coming government”.