'Either go to London or jail', Fawad tells Shehbaz

Info minister says LHC has been requested to conduct a day-to-day hearing of PML-N president's case


Our Correspondent December 31, 2021

LAHORE:

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif was left with only two options: "either to go to London or jail".

Talking to the media in Lahore, he said that the Lahore High Court (LHC) had been requested to conduct a day-to-day hearing of Shehbaz Sharif's case so that it could be concluded at the earliest.

He said that the media should analyse the witnesses and evidence by covering the LHC proceedings and evaluate whether Shehbaz was involved in money laundering or not, instead of giving coverage to his claims or remarks.

Read more: Shehbaz ‘ringleader’ of money laundering gang: Akbar

The minister said that the PML-N leader should not worry as the country is moving in the right direction and the people are fully supporting Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government.

He said that the opposition is in a state of confusion, as initially, it claimed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was returning to the country on his own, however, when the government offered them that it would bring him back, then they backed off.

To a question, Fawad said that previous regimes of Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari damaged the national economy by getting huge loans, due to which now the government had to pay off these loans of $55 billion in the next two years. "Now, the government has to take loans to return the previous ones."

He added: "Today, even after paying off huge amounts in loans, Pakistan’s economic situation is still stable and growing."

To another query, the information minister said that the central leadership of opposition comprised "absconders, so how the government could hold talks with them", adding that the Pakistan Peoples Party and the PML-N should engage in national politics "but they do not want to do so".

Also read: Shehbaz lambasts govt over its ‘poor’ performance

"The PPP has always played the Sindh card instead of strengthening the federation. Now the Sindh government has deprived the people of Sindh of the Sehat card," he said, adding that the PPP leadership was afraid of its own workers and unable to face them.

He said that the PPP had become unpopular due to its leadership’s negative policies.

Fawad said that victory or defeat was a part of the electoral process as the political leaders were answerable to people on their political efforts and commitments.

Earlier, the information minister said that PM Imran had once again expressed his commitment to the people of the country and pledged to make Pakistan a welfare state based on the principles of Riyasat-e-Medina.

He said that the corrupt era of previous governments had ended in Pakistan as now a people-centric government was working to put the country on the path of progress and prosperity.

He said that the opposition’s central leadership did not attend the National Assembly’s proceedings while they claimed that 29 members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had contacted the PML-N.

"In fact, the whole opposition members were in contact with the PTI and even the PML-N members did not oppose the Supplementary Finance Bill," he added.

Fawad went on to say that it was ironic that PML-N’s leader and former defence minister Khawaja Asif, who was employed in an organisation in Saudi Arabia and getting a salary, was telling the PTI government about the threats and challenges to national security and integrity. "People are aware of their real faces."

The federal minister said that the value of rupee against the US dollar strengthened after the presentation of the finance bill, which would further help in reducing inflation during the next three to four months, as the international factors causing inflation including commodities and energy products had shown a downward trend.

The PTI government introduced the largest social protection programme to bring improvement in people’s living standards besides strengthening the economy, he said and added that owing to the solid policies of the government, a significant improvement in Pakistan’s economic situation would be observed till August or September.

Read more: PM Imran behind ‘fabricated story’ against Shehbaz Sharif: Marriyum

"Pakistan’s economy and defence, as well as the political situation, are stable," he insisted.

Fawad said that Federal Minister for Planning and Development and Special Initiative Asad Umar and National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) deserved appreciation over achieving the Covid-19 vaccination set targets, adding that the PTI government had successfully handled the pandemic through its effective strategies and timely measures.

He said that an international publication, The Economist also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts against Covid-19 and its conversion rate to normalcy after the pandemic.

These days, on one side the foreign countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Saudi Arabia and European countries were imposing travel restrictions but on the other side, Pakistan is the only country that effectively overcame the pandemic by consistent policies, he added.

He also paid tribute to soldiers of the Pakistan Army who embraced martyrdom in an operation in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan and said that the soldiers of Pakistan Rangers, police, Frontier Corps (FC) and other law-enforcement agencies, who sacrificed their lives to protect the motherland, deserved salute.

He also stressed the need to revive the film and drama industry for effectively projecting Pakistan’s positive image and narrative across the world through quality content.

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