PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan addressing a press conference along with former federal minister Qamaz Zaman Kaira at People's Secretariat. — Online photo
ISLAMABAD: The PPP has termed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s maiden address to the nation an attempt to influence voters before Thursday’s by-elections.
Speaking at a press conference at the party’s central secretariat on Wednesday, PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan said there was no reason that could have compelled Mr Sharif to address the nation.
“In a parliamentary form of government, prime ministers do not address the nation, but only those who do not have appropriate forums like parliament do so.”
Former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira was also present at the press conference.
Mr Ahsan said there was no mention in Mr Sharif’s speech about how his government would tackle the issues of terrorism, missing persons and drone strikes.
“Nawaz Sharif did not give any plan to defeat terrorism, but he talked about initiating a dialogue with militants in a vague manner. Would he like to tell the nation whether militants accept the Constitution and democracy?”
The PPP leader said the prime minister did not spell out the terms and conditions under which the government would hold talks with militants.
He said his party’s government had introduced a policy of 3Ds – deterrence, dialogue and development. “Under this policy, the PPP government initiated dialogue with Sufi Mohammad, a leader of militants in Swat, conducted an operation and later carried out development work in the area,” Mr Ahsan said.
The PPP leader said Mr Sharif levelled baseless allegations against the PPP government about Neelum-Jhelum power project. He said the project was commissioned in 2005 and the PPP government had ordered the authorities concerned to complete it by 2016. “How is it possible that transmission lines can be erected 10 years before completion of the project?”
The PPP leaders brushed aside the claim of the prime minister that the cost of Nandipur power project went up from Rs23 billion to Rs57bn. “The PPP will seek an explanation from the government on the issue,” said Mr Kaira.
He said Mr Sharif did not talk about missing persons in Balochistan, Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan programme and killings of people belonging to the Hazara community in the province.
He claimed that the foundation stone of a road project from Kashgar to Gwadar was laid by the PPP government.