Democracy can’t run without right to speech: Syed Ali Zafar

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Caretaker Minister for Information Barrister Syed Ali Zafar on Tuesday said democracy could not run without right to speech & expression, adding free and fair election would be held on time, and transfer of power to the elected government was a Constitutional mandate.

“We will take decisions for the benefit of the people of Pakistan in compliance with the law, and within our jurisdiction, in a completely transparent & apolitical manner,” Syed Ali Zafar in a Press Conference along with the Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar in Islamabad.

The information minister said their agenda was clear, they wouldn’t resort to blame games or finger pointing.

“We will perform to the best of our abilities, till the formation of an elected representative government after general elections,” he said.

Apprising about the power situation, the minister said total installed capacity of power generation in Pakistan was 28000 MWs; however, total available power generation was between 21000-22000 MWs. He said total demand of power currently was 23000 MWs while the shortfall was 2000 MWs.

Syed Ali Zafar said according to reports received, they faced a shortfall due to low hydel production in June 2018, 3000 MWs as compared to 6000 MWs in June 2017, and breakdown of Port Qasim which produced 1200 MWs. He said that caused increased load shedding.

The minister also said water flow had significantly increased to generate electricity from 3000 MWs to 5000 MWs for hydel production during the past few days which would help decrease load shedding in Pakistan.

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The Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar said Pakistan’s macroeconomic situation was stable. She said their growth rate was at 5.8 percent, and inflation was under control. However, she added, petroleum prices in the global market had surged from 5 percent to an 11 percent which had adversely affected them.

Shamshad Akhtar said their current account deficit was worrisome & required structural reforms. She said it had surged from $8.9 billion to $14 billion.

The minister also said structural balance of payments was 1.6 percent of GDP caused by slow exports, which was a global phenomenon.