Firing broadside at his party’s defected legislators, ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that he was surprised by their newly found love for making South Punjab a separate province.
A day after six MNAs resigned from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and expressed desire to pursue a different province, Nawaz claimed that South Punjab has seen plausible development under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif.
On Monday, eight PML-N legislators resigned from the party announcing a mass movement, Junoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaaz, for the sole purpose of making South Punjab a separate province.
Legislators who quit PML-N include former state minister for foreign affairs Bakhtiar, an MNA from Rahim Yar Khan; MNA Tariq Iqbal from Vehari; MNA Muhammad Qasim from Multan; MNA Basit Bukhari from Muzaffargarh; Sardar Dareshak, Saleem Ullah Chaudhry, Alam Dar Laleka and Syed Asghar Ali Shah.
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“The people of southern Punjab are as satisfied as the people of central or upper Punjab,” he added.
"The recent by-election in Lodhran speaks volumes of PML-N's popularity," Nawaz said, adding that the elections saw a 180 degree turn ‘against expectations’.
He also said that the people of Lodhran elected a lesser-known candidate pitched by the PML-N," he said taking a jibe at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that lost the seat after Jahangir Tareen was disqualified.
“The party didn't land in a mess even after losing nine seats in Punjab,” he added. Gesturing to the resignation of the MNAs and MPAs on Monday, led by former state minister of foreign affairs Khusro Bakhtiar, the former PM said that 'turncoats' don't belong to PML-N.
Expressing dismay over the recent resignations, Nawaz said that these are the dissidents that did not vote for his party presidency and never belong to the PML-N in the first place. "We were observant of the turncoats who join dictators during military regimes and public representatives during democratic governments," he said, adding that those who switch loyalties were a disgrace to politics.
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The PML-N Quaid also lamented that PML-N leaders were subjected to NAB investigations even after serving the country for years while those who remained busy in money-making through corruption are having country tours. "I am also a human being, I have feelings too," he said, terming PTI Chief Imran Khan's entry into politics a ‘bad omen’.
The PML-N leader also expressed concern over the growing incidence of missing persons, saying that those responsible for the issue were engaged in heinous crimes. "Will the families and children of the missing persons ever spend peaceful lives?" Nawaz questioned.
"I feel anguished to imagine the feelings of the bereaved families, who have no clue whether or not their loved ones are alive," he concluded.
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