Legislation to end bar on dual nationality holders soon: PM Asrhaf

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain asked Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Sunday to fast-track legislation on lifting the embargo on overseas Pakistanis from taking part in elections.

During a telephonic chat, both the leaders agreed to abolish the law barring dual nationals from contesting elections.They said overseas Pakistanis played an important role in the country’s economy and anyone who has dual nationality should also be allowed to participate in general elections.

Pervaiz Ashraf said the legislation to end the bar on dual nationality holders contesting elections will be made soon.He also exchanged views with Altaf Hussain on the prevailing political situation in the country.

The premier welcomed the recent meeting between President Asif Zardari and Altaf Hussain. He praised the MQM chief for giving his support to President Zardari and commended him for making efforts for promoting democracy in the country.

Altaf welcomed the directives given by the prime minister to the law minister regarding legislation on abolishing the ban on overseas Pakistanis from taking part in elections. He apprised the prime minister of the efforts being made by Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar in this regard.

Pervaiz Ashraf said overseas Pakistanis would be given their legitimate right with the help of the MQM and other allied parties.Altaf Hussain assured full co-operation to the prime minister for meeting the challenges facing the country and for solving the problems being faced by people. He asked the prime minister to work for solving the problems of the people with good intentions and assured him of MQM support.

APP adds from Islamabad: Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh called on Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf at the Prime Minister House and briefed him on the country’s economic situation.

The minister said that the fiscal year 2011-12 ended with a growth rate of 3.7%, showing an improvement over the last three years.Similarly, the minister said better performance was visible in the fall in the inflation rate from 13% last year to 11% in the year just concluded.

The benefit of decline in international fuel prices, the minister said, had been passed on to the consumers and during the last 45 days, prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene had been brought down three times.

He said that the financial year had also ended with foreign exchange reserves of over 15 billion dollars, in spite of paying back 1.2 billion dollars to the IMF during the year as per the schedule.

The minister said that exports remained strong in spite of the global economic crisis and were likely to maintain their upward momentum in the year 2012-13 as well.Hafeez Shaikh highly appreciated the role of expatriate Pakistanis and said the remittances were at a historic high of over 13 billion dollars.

The minister further said that the financial year 2011-12 also ended with successful completion of the Federal PSDP where projects benefiting the economy worth Rs300 billion were undertaken showing 100% utilisation and completion of more than 200 projects.

He said that the recent improvement in the production of the electricity sector from 10,000MW to about 14,000MW had given a relief to the public but greater efforts would be required from the management of the electricity sector and relevant ministries to overcome this challenge on a fast-track basis.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction on economic stability and appreciated the successful efforts of the team under the leadership of the finance minister and directed that prudent economic policies should be continued.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Sunday and congratulated him on assuming office of the Chief Executive of Pakistan. She expressed the hope that relations between the United States of America and Pakistan would improve during his tenure as prime minister.

She said that Pakistan and the US were partners in the war on terror and would succeed in defeating the common enemy. The prime minister thanked her for her felicitations and said that the government and the people of Pakistan were committed to fight the scourge of terrorism.

He said that Pakistan had suffered the most but its resolve to defeat the menace remained unwavering. The US secretary of state also expressed her best wishes for President Asif Ali Zardari.

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