KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif has said the nation must stop treating India as the country’s biggest enemy, calling for a reappraisal of ties with New Delhi "if we want to go forward and progress."
He said if the government cut down all expenditures by 50 per cent, a handsome amount could be set aside for debt servicing.
Nawaz Sharif, who arrived in the city on Monday for the first time after returning home from London, was talking to journalists at a hotel. Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, Mamnoon Hussain, Salim Zia, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Khwaja Saad Rafique, all leaders of PML-N, were also present.
The PML-M chief said the army budget and that of the ISI be placed before parliament for scrutiny in line with the practice in democracies.
Mr Sharif described the decision to set up an independent commission to investigate the Abbottabad fiasco as a first step to making parliament sovereign.
“We need structural changes and this inquiry has provided an opportunity to move forward and put the country on the right track, correct its direction by putting our house in order, establish the rule of law and bring all institutions under civilian control,” Mr Sharif observed.
The PML-N chief said if the government fixed responsibility for the Abbottabad incident and punished those found guilty, a message would go out to the world at large that the people of Pakistan would not brook another Abbottabad-like embarrassment.
In reply to a question, he said he was unaware if intelligence agencies had brought about the Pakistan People’s Party-Q League alliance.
Asked whether he would get in touch with MQM during his stay in Karachi, he said rhetorically: “What for. They are now part of the government. And May 12 should not be forgotten because if we forget the tragedy, similar incidents will continue to happen.” Mr Sharif was alluding to the bloodshed in Karachi on May 12, 2007 — the day Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was unable to come out of the city’s airport.
“I don’t want to say anything lest I be misconstrued. However, an inquiry should be instituted into the May 12 happenings and the guilty brought to justice,” Mr Sharif said.
He said the practice of dismissing elected governments midway through their terms should be stopped.
Earlier Nawaz Sharif offered Fateha at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam, where he went straight from the airport.