In what appears to be a preview of his election stump speech, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif lashed out at the establishment and said that the time has come to end the status quo and make a fresh start.
He was addressing a workers’ convention at the Pillar Palace on Paris Road in Sialkot on Thursday.
Sharif said that the current rulers had put the self-respect, honour and future of the entire Pakistani nation at stake for the sake of “a few coins which they are hoping to get from their masters”.
Pakistan, he said, had lost its international prestige and become increasingly isolated because of “selfish and self-centered policies of the rulers”. He said that the Quaid-i-Azam had not created Pakistan to be ruled by the looters. He said that there were no traces of terrorism, extremism, suicide attacks and lawlessness in Pakistan, when he was in power
Criticising the government for extravagance and lavish expenditure, he said that the president and prime minister houses were spending Rs1 million every day, adding that people in power were gobbling up people’s hard-earned tax money at an unprecedented pace at a time when people had to endure 20-hour-long power outages.
Urging the people to come forward and join him in his bid to eradicate “all nuisances” from the country, Nawaz Sharif said he was fighting for the future of the coming generations.
Resenting persistent power outages, he said that the country’s youth could not even prepare for their examinations in peace.
Sharif was in Sialkot to offer condolences on the death of the mother of a senior PML-N leader Khwaja Asif.
Calling for ending the country’s dependence on foreign “alms and aid”, he said that “we can create our own resources”.
He said he was agonised whenever he looked at the prevailing situation in the country.
“Never had I imagined that people would have to endure such difficulties. There is (nothing but) unemployment, poverty and power cuts,” he said.
Highlighting the achievements of his administrations, he said that during his government’s tenure, there was no concept of power outages, extremism, terrorism, suicide attacks or runaway inflation. He said that his governments had completed major development and infrastructure projects, including the Motorway, without any foreign aid.
During his governments, he said, the country had many friends. He lamented that the country now had no friends.
Criticising the country’s policy-makers, he said: “We have created our own enemies, cheating the world, considering them to be liars, and promoting ourselves as innocent and noble before the world.”
Stressing the need for dedication and commitment, he said that it was our collective responsibility to get the country out of this mess.
He said that he rejected billions of dollars offered by US president Bill Clinton who promised to give the country the money in return for not conducting nuclear tests.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2011.