Whirlwind Sharif: ‘Elections now – but not sponsored by military’

Published: December 21, 2011
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Nawaz Sharif addressing a group of businessmen in Karachi on Tuesday. PHOTO: APP
KARACHI: 

Nawaz Sharif humorously remarked to journalists on Tuesday: “I’m in form today. If they throw a bouncer at me, I will hit it outside the boundary” — and perhaps followed through on the cricketing analogy by actually managing to meet a jam-packed schedule on the day.

He managed to put in some ‘bouncers’ of his own, too: including suggesting that general elections should be held immediately. He was quick to add, however, that he would not support military intervention for this purpose.

He also stated that President Asif Ali Zardari’s governance had failed “miserably.”

Sharif appeared cagey on whether he wanted to be elected prime minister a third time, and said, “I don’t really want to go back to the palaces we were [forcibly] taken out of. I would rather live in a small home”. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief spent the day meeting politicians, businessmen and journalists, and blamed the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government for not caring enough about issues that really mattered: foreign policy, the economy and militancy.

“We wanted this government to complete its full term but President Zardari has miserably failed despite the fact he had a golden opportunity to prove himself.”

Focus on Sindh

On Tuesday, Sharif met with Pir Pagara, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, the PML-N lawyers wing, trade unionists and addressed a press conference with Irfanullah Marwat. In the evening, he attended an event hosted by the FPCCI. He was to also attend an event by the Pakistan Council on Foreign Relations.

Many of Sharif’s scheduled meetings with Sindh’s notables, however, did not take place. “They might take place during his next visit,” PML-N officials said. Party’s chief organiser Saleem Zia told The Express Tribune: “He’ll be here in two weeks again and will now be visiting Sindh quite often.”

The party said that its provincial leadership was in touch with possible allies in Sindh – the names of former Sindh chief minister Ghulam Arbab Rahim and the Mahars have been doing the rounds – but nothing had been decided yet.

Later, he addressed a gathering along with recent party addition Irfanullah Marwat, who invited Nawaz to hold a rally in Karachi.

Military establishment

Sharif said that it was ironic that some people still believed that military dictatorship could solve Pakistan’s problems.

“Military dictators can fire bullets and kill Nawab Akbar Bugti but they cannot bring the Baloch on the table for talks,” he said. “Only political parties can find political solutions and resolve the grave problems of Pakistan.”

“I’ve said before that the army’s budget should be presented before parliament — that is a first step. It can be referred to a select committee. The agencies’ budget should also not be secret. Parliament should approve and audit the budgets. These were easy steps and were in the Charter of Democracy too.”

Meeting with civil society

Sharif offered a rosy picture of the PML-N’s government in Punjab at a meeting with civil society representatives.

“Punjab is the only province where there is no corruption in the government and where decisions are made on merit and are transparent.”

He added that many of his plans, such as for a network of motorways, were abandoned because his governments did not complete their terms.

According to Sharif, the party’s next manifesto will focus on the economy. “We have a great team of economists; I will be attending the party’s manifesto meeting on December 23.”

He also called for decreasing the income tax rate and eliminating waivers on duty save for a few protected industries. The decrease, he explained at another engagement, would be to encourage more people to pay tax.

(WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FARHAN ZAHEER IN KARACHI)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Political Analyst
    Dec 21, 2011 - 5:42AM

    Nawaz shareef economic policy includes reducing corporate tax to 10% …. he only has the capacity to think about “Etihad and Shareef Industries” and not about the people of pakistan. Why not reduce taxes for our farmers and giving them free fertilizers and educating them in the new techniques of farming.

    Shareef shb should not think that people of pakistan are blind and cannot see his personal motives, i pay 35% tax in australia and i dont mind it because i get free education for my kids, discounted medical and so on.

    An advice to Mr. Shareef is that he should focus on correcting the system and everything will fall in place. Pakistan Etihad and shareef industries kay liye nahin hai, it is for every poor pakistani whose kids cannot go to school because they cant afford it, it is for every pakistani who is sick and cannot earn a living for his family or get himself fixed …..Recommend

  • Sherlock Holmes
    Dec 21, 2011 - 7:37AM

    Yeah Raiwind is a very ‘small home’.

    Recommend

  • Fardad
    Dec 21, 2011 - 8:59AM

    Unfortunately Nawaz Sharif’s stance is always “self first” oriented. He does not have clear views and keeps somersaulting between issues fed to him by his advisers. Today he says ‘elections should be held immediately’ after a few days he will backtrack on this and say ‘elected govt must complete it’s tenure’. He has done this so many times before. We are really confused with him. Is he himself so too?

    Recommend

  • No Spin Facts
    Dec 21, 2011 - 9:47AM

    Agreed. How about on April 15th, a few weeks after the Senate elections?

    Recommend

  • Karim
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:02AM

    it seems Mr. Sharif is still in the shock as he never lets a chance to criticize military.

    Recommend

  • MAHER ALI
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Nawaz you are the one who brought Zardari in the front line. You supported him and strengthen his arms and still you are FRIENDLY OPPOSITION and not resigning from both the houses. Recommend

  • ihtisham
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:24AM

    Why u need general elections so early, when ur party is already ruling over 62% of pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Blithe
    Dec 21, 2011 - 12:33PM

    @Political Analyst:
    Pakistan does need to reduce tax burden on the
    middle class. My tax rate in Pakistan is around 35 percent in Pakistan.

    Whereas my tax is withheld at source .. businessmen show losses on their income
    statement to avoid taxes.

    The high tax rate leads to massive tax evasion!

    Recommend

  • Hamid
    Dec 21, 2011 - 12:37PM

    Nawaz sharif is trying to gain some attention. he will badly fail. i can see that

    Recommend

  • Khalid Jawed
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:12PM

    @PoliticalAnalyst @Blithe Farmers and agriculturalists barely pay any taxes at all!!! Fertiliser is already heavily subsidised. Mr. Political Analyst, one needs to know facts before he can analyse them. Mr. Blithe, sure tax is high, but that is no justification on evasion. Being a Pakistani I know our society doesn’t respect tax payments and no excuses please.

    Recommend

  • Dec 21, 2011 - 1:57PM

    PML-N is the best hope for Pakistan.
    If the media had been impartial, many more people would have understood this.

    Recommend

  • Beatle
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:06PM

    A small house, Spread over just 750 Kanals. What a joke. There are no limits of Greed.

    Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:07PM

    “Punjab is the only province where there is no corruption in the government and where decisions are made on merit and are transparent.”

    I stopped reading after this statement.

    Recommend

  • shuja
    Dec 21, 2011 - 3:44PM

    Because he has realised that PTI is gaining popularity day by day.

    Recommend

  • Newsreader
    Dec 21, 2011 - 6:20PM

    @Sherlock Holmes:
    Why do these people insult our intelligence? Because they think we, the people, have the IQ of a potato. And this dude is not alone.

    Recommend

  • Amazed
    Dec 21, 2011 - 6:36PM

    @Saud:
    Guys like you can’t see his hypocrisy? Its a case of a beautiful mind.

    Recommend

  • Shabbir
    Dec 21, 2011 - 9:07PM

    Has any of you seen their faces in the picture above? Are’nt from faces they look defeated

    Recommend

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