LAHORE: The presumption that elements supported by ‘hidden forces’ will win the upcoming elections need to be proven wrong, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif told parliamentarians from Gujranwala and Faisalabad at the PML-N Secretariat in Model Town on Saturday.
Just five weeks before the completion of the government’s tenure, the former prime minister acknowledged that economically, Pakistan had the weakest currency and was trailing behind in the region. Currencies of Sri Lanka, Nepal and even Bangladesh were stronger than Pakistani rupee, he said.
Acknowledging the incumbent government’s failures, he said that once the size of the country’s economy was 1/4th of India’s economy, now it had shrunk to just 1/8th.
Sharif claimed that his party’s government had turned the economic situation around, but then the country was hit by the decision of his disqualification. He said Pakistan’s currency, which had been stable for four years, weakened in the wake of the same decision. Pakistan’s stock market index, he added, dipped from 5,300 to 3,700 within weeks after his disqualification.
Alluding to the court case, the former PM said he did not know where he would be in the next 10 to 20 days, but no matter where he was, his stance would not change in any way. He said no elected PM in Pakistan’s history had ever been allowed to complete his tenure.
He said “this only happens in our country… elsewhere in the region, states function by the book. Here in Pakistan, law amounts to nothing”.
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He said people needed to take a stand for Pakistan’s sake. “We cannot allow Pakistan to be run in this manner,” he said.
“We continue to commit the same mistakes that led to the fall of Dhaka,” he said. “Even our broken limb is now economically more powerful than us,” he said.
Expressing the need to radically reform the system, Sharif said the country needed to prevent dismissals of future prime ministers. He said the country needed to learn from the past mistakes and pledge to address these issues for a better future.
He criticized the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for joining hands with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for the Senate elections. He said PTI chief Imran Khan, who once called PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari a malignant disease, supported the same party in the Senate elections.
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He said that Khan should quit politics for taking orders from the ‘high-ups’. He said the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister had inadvertently revealed while talking to the Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) that they were being ordered by those of high stature.
“People need to know specifically who are these people of high stature?” he said.
Urging his party’s activists to prepare for the upcoming elections, the deposed PM said that attempts were being made to fragment his party, but only those who had been denied ticket had abandoned it. He said his party could never retain those who had gone against the party’s decision in the National Assembly.
Appreciating Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal for “reminding judges that politicians also have self-respect”, he said that the judges repeatedly summoned Daniyal Aziz and Talal Chaudhry and mistreated them.
Speaking on the occasion, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif solely focused on the government’s performance.
He said the PML-N government had rendered selfless services for the people under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif. The tenure of PML-N government was the best period of development and progress in the country. Development projects, he said, were being implemented at a fast pace and in a transparent manner.
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Under the CPEC, the country’s largest coal-based power generation projects had been installed, he said, adding that the Sahiwal coal power plant and the Port Qasim coal power project were already generating 2,700 megawatt electricity and these projects had been completed at a fast pace.
Ahsan Iqbal, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, former minister Khawaja Asif, provincial ministers and other PML-N leaders were also present on the occasion.
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