ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said only a strong economy would ensure a strong defence for Pakistan.
While speaking to media after attending a ceremony of Asia Peace Festival organised by Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad, the minister said development and improved standard of living was not possible without peace, stability and harmony. He said the world had entered the information age and countries were competing for economic ascendancy.
“If there is a conflict, then the development process gets stalled in the country,” the minister said.
The interior minister said Pakistan had defeated terrorism and now its economy, sports activities and tourism were being revived.
The minister further said Pakistan was committed to peace in the region and would not allow anybody to use its soil for terrorism.
“Pakistan does not want that its land is used against any other country, or any other country uses its land against Pakistan,” Ahsan Iqbal said.
In reply to a question, the minister said the bye-elections in NA-120 in Lahore was a victory for democracy.
The minister stressed people voted for the agenda of development and not for those who wanted to create chaos in the Country.
“In the past, the Country was facing 20 hour long electricity shortages. Now electricity is available 20 hours a day,” he said.
Ahsan Iqbal said people expressed confidence in the leadership of Nawaz Sharif.
However, he added, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had reservations about the way elections were held in Lahore, adding he had sought report from the institutions about the kidnapping of PML-N workers by anti-democratic forces.
Moreover, the minister congratulated the Pakistan Council of the Arts and organizers of Asian Film Festival for arranging a film festival in which thousands of films were presented for screening by film makers of 30 countries.
The minister said the government would be giving a tax relief package to filmmakers to promote the local film industry. He said Pakistan would now be a new destination for film makers. Actors and film makers were the agents of change, he remarked.
Ahsan Iqbal said the festival would bring people of Asia together and would lead to new platforms to expand regional connectivity and cooperation.
The interior minister said the future belonged to those who blended science with arts and focused on innovation and creativity.