PML-N, PPP vow to repair ‘damaged’ economy

Nawaz, Bilawal hold meeting at Stanhope House in London

Our Correspondent April 21, 2022
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (R) pictured during a meeting with Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who called on him at his residence, in London on April 21, 2022.



In a meeting in London on Thursday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari vowed to repair the “damaged” economy of Pakistan left behind by the former government, saying joint efforts were needed to resolve the country’s problems.

Nawaz lambasted former PM Imran Khan for taking U-turns after U-turns, saying the previous government’s tenure was the “blackest” in the country’s history as it destroyed the economy and promoted the culture of disrespect and insult in the country.

Later, while addressing a joint news conference alongside Bilawal in London, Nawaz said, “It will take some time before we can repair the damage done to Pakistan’s economy.”

He said that getting the economy back on its feet was an extremely difficult task and it would take some time to strengthen the rupee.

He, however, said that getting rid of Imran was very important to save the nation as the culture of disrespect, insult and rudeness has gained grounds in the country. “I have never seen such an atmosphere in the last 70 years that Imran and his politics created in the country,” Sharif said. Accusing Imran of violating the Constitution, Sharif said that Imran promoted malfeasance and the culture of insulting others, saying it was important to stop it as it was leading to moral destruction.

Nawaz said that the people still remember Ishaq Dar and the previous government which used to provide food items at affordable rates, provided cheap medicines and made electricity available at the doorstep of the masses. He added that the newly formed government had several challenges to meet after getting rid of Imran, urging all parties of the country to play their role in taking the country out of the crisis.

The PML-N supremo and the PPP chairman met at the Stanhope House, London. London, which has long been discussed in Pakistan’s political circle, once again became the centre of Pakistan’s politics as former PM and PPP chairman met in the restive city years after Nawaz and Bilawal’s mother, former PM Benazir Bhutto, had met and signed the “Charter of Democracy”.

The official stance from both sides didn’t reveal much about the actual agenda and limited the meeting to the extent of Bilawal congratulating Nawaz on the united opposition-turned incumbent government’s victory in passing the no-confidence motion against former premier Imran.

In the first face-to-face meeting after Imran’s defenestration, the PPP officials said that the PPP chairman wanted to personally “congratulate” the PML-N supremo on Shehbaz Sharif victory’s as the new prime minister and his son, Hamza Shehbaz, the Punjab chief minister.

Nawaz thanked Bilawal for paying him a visit, saying the two would have another meeting the next day.

Meanwhile, Bilawal said the PPP and the PML-N had once again created history with their recent success, adding that the prime ministers in the past were removed through undemocratic means but Imran was removed in a constitutional, parliamentary and democratic manner.

“Pakistan is at a crossroads. We can either go towards the revival of democracy ... or we can go in reverse gear and repeat the same mistakes,” Bilawal said, adding that the relationship between the PPP and the PML-N was as imperative as it was when the “Charter of Democracy” was signed, when the 18th amendment was concluded and when the CPEC projects were turned into reality.

He said, “Now that Imran is gone, the damage that he has caused to the democracy, economy, Constitution and international standing needs to be repaired.”

Bilawal recalled that the institutions, including judiciary, parliament and establishment, became controversial in the past and now it was the aim that all controversial institutions start working within their constitutional limits. “It’s a humongous task which can be made possible if all parties work together,” Bilawal said.

Before concluding the news conference, Nawaz chided former premier Imran over his claim that he was removed through a foreign conspiracy, asking whether he (Imran) had made the country an atomic power that a foreign country would come after him.

He termed the foreign conspiracy narrative nothing but a “big lie”. He also reminded Imran about his statement that he would prefer suicide over going to the IMF, saying the previous government did go to IMF and no one saw him committing suicide.

“Allah Almighty has made me the prime minister of the country three times and now my wish is to do my part to take this country to its destination,” Nawaz said. The news conference was held after a meeting between Bilawal along with PPP leaders Sherry Rehman, Naveed Qamar, and Qamar Zaman Kaira and Nawaz, former finance minister Ishaq Dar and other PML-N leaders.

The PPP media cell said that both leaders discussed the overall political situation in the country and expressed their determination to move forward with mutual understanding and consensus on national and political affairs.

Prior to the meeting, PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi said the dialogue would have no specific agenda, saying Bilawal and Nawaz would have a political discussion before the former would return to Pakistan to take oath as a cabinet member. Kundi also shunned the rumours of a deadlock between the PPP and the PML-N over the cabinet portfolios, saying both the parties were moving forward for the country’s sake by forgetting bitter memories of the past.

Upon his return, the PPP officials said, Bilawal is expected to take oath as country’s new foreign minister. They said that the meeting between Bilawal and Nawaz would pave the way for a “Charter of Prosperity” as the focus of the meeting was to bring political and economic stability in the country.

In an earlier media talk, Bilawal laughed off at the narrative of foreign conspiracy, saying there was a democratic conspiracy against Imran hatched at Bilawal House and there was no international conspiracy. He said that what Imran was basically saying “is why the institutions didn’t come to save his government”.

PM’s meetings

Earlier in the day, Premier Shehbaz met the Awami National Party leadership, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Aimal Asfandyar and Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour at the PM House. The ANP leaders congratulated Shehbaz on assuming the office of prime minister and discussed the current political situation in the country.

Separately, a delegation of the Balochistan Awami Party led by Khalid Hussain Magsi and Jam Kamal Khan called on PM Shehbaz. Apart from discussing the political situation in the country, the delegation welcomed the inclusion of Balochistan's development in the government’s priorities.

Also, Balochistan National Party Chairman Sardar Akhtar Mengal called on PM Shehbaz and discussed the current political situation in the country. In the meeting, Mengal welcomed the PM’s move of making the development of Balochistan one of the top priorities of the government.

Shehbaz said that Balochistan was not only rich in natural resources but also Baloch manpower was a valuable asset of the country. “The government will ensure the participation of Baloch youth in the national mainstream by taking steps for the development of Balochistan on a priority basis.”

Prior to that, the PM met JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and discussed the political situation. The statement said that Fazl expressed concern over the economic indicators presented in the first meeting of the federal cabinet and welcomed the commitment to take the country out of the difficult situation and work for the development and prosperity of it.

Before meeting Fazl, the PM met Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and discussed the current political situation in the country. The Sindh chief minister congratulated the Shehbaz on his commitment to work together for the development of the country.

The CM also briefed the PM on administrative matters of Sindh. Shehbaz directed Murad to ensure implementation of the relief package given to the people during Ramazan, saying the first priority of the incumbent government was to provide immediate relief to the people crushed by inflation. He said that the federation and the provinces will work together to provide relief to the people.

In the morning, the PM expressed condolences on the demise of MQM MNA Iqbal Muhammad Ali in a phone call with his son Emad Muhammad Ali. Shehbaz said that Iqbal was a noble, educated and people-friendly person and his services to the nation and democracy would be remembered.



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