Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif on Saturday credited his party for starting a process of change in Pakistan 21 years ago by “freeing the slave economy and facing forces supporting the status quo”.
Sharif was addressing a gathering of members of the National and Provincial Assemblies, office-bearers and workers from the Faisalabad division.
He said that after becoming the prime minister of the country the first time, he started to work on the economic reforms agenda of the PML-N. However, he added, supporters of the ‘old and slave economy’ became active to stop the process of change in a bid to maintain their possession on industries and banks.
They were in favour of having complete control over transfer of foreign exchange and were against modern infrastructure, Sharif said before adding: “but we freed the economy”.
The party chief went on to say that his government constructed airports, seaports and motorways and removed restrictions on foreign exchange.
He further said that they restored the self-respect of Pakistanis working abroad by setting up green channels at airports.
He added that his government gave “these gifts to the nation”, but was toppled three years earlier, before completing its tenure.
“Had our government not been toppled, Pakistan would have been the most prosperous country of the region,” the PML-N chief said.
Further talking about what could have been, Sharif said that there would be no shortage of electricity, industries would not have closed down and there would no unemployment or terrorism.
“If it rains four times, the (current) rulers wander around with begging bowls, whereas we had found a solution through indigenous resources,” he further said.
Sharif went on to say that his government had upheld the dignity of the country’s flag, adding that those who ‘did not accept Pakistan also respected it’.
“What is the change, how it is brought and what price of it is paid, we know better,” Sharif maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2011.