ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves to party workers and leaders after his unopposed election as PML-N president by its General Council at the Convention Centre on Tuesday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves to party workers and leaders after his unopposed election as PML-N president by its General Council at the Convention Centre on Tuesday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif claimed on Tuesday that his party would form the next government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the 2018 general elections, lashing out at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for what he called their “attempts to de-track the country from the road to progress”.

Addressing a charged gat­hering of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) general council members after his unopposed re-election as the PML-N president for another four-year term, PM Sharif said he considered it an “insult” to even respond to the “unsavoury language” being used against him by others.

“Today, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are looking for those who had promised them a new Pakistan. Instead of serving the people of their province, they are wasting time dancing on containers,” the prime minister said as the crowd chanted slogans against his arch-rival, Imran Khan.

“Had you focused on your province, people would be praising you. But the situation now is such that you need months of efforts to organise a gathering and to get people to attend,” he said.

“One party has the mandate to make Pakistan prosperous and the other has been given a mandate to abuse others from atop their containers,” the prime minister mused, referring to the PTI, which has threatened to shut down Islamabad on Nov 2 if PM Sharif doesn’t present himself for accountability over his involvement in Panamagate.

Old faces retain party offices; PTI terms PML-N intra-party polls ‘a farce’

“I don’t know who will be on the container and how many abuses he will utter. Those talking about locking and jamming Islamabad and taking to the streets will continue to march on the roads and we will continue to build new ones,” Mr Sharif said.

The premier said that his party did not believe in the blame-game, adding that their focus was only on the country’s development.

Reacting to the prime minister’s remarks, PTI Information Secretary Naee­mul Haq issued a statement terming the PML-N intra-party elections “a farce” and claiming that those who believed in democracy were ashamed.

Party secretary general Jahangir Tareen, in a separate statement, said that PM Sharif’s speech sounded like the remarks of a “defeated person”. He accused the government of ruining the economy by borrowing heavily and also alleged that the ruling party had committed the “economic murder” of farmers.

Mr Tareen alleged that the Panama Papers leak had exposed the real faces of the Sharifs, who were afraid of the wrath of the people who were ready to take to the streets on Nov 2.

Development agenda

Highlighting the achievements of his government, PM Sharif said that today’s Pakistan was on the fast track to development, which was being acknowledged by the world. He said that Pakistan had been included in the list of fastest-growing countries and leading magazines were publishing positive articles about Pakistan.

He also claimed that inflation was well under control and the prices of essential commodities, including vegetables, had come down as compared to prices in 2013, when the PML-N took over.

The prime minister reiterated his resolve to eliminate loadshedding from the country by the year 2018. He praised China for helping Pakistan build power plants in the country that would help add 10,000MW to the national grid by 2018, whereas 30,000MW would be added in the next few years.

He also claimed that electricity prices for domestic and industrial consumers had also come down from Rs18 per unit in 2013 to Rs10 per unit and he was trying to bring the cost down to Rs7 per unit in the next few years.

The prime minister also lauded the efforts and sacrifices of the personnel of armed forces, police and other law enforcement agencies who were tackling the menace of terrorism.

Intra-party election Earlier, Chaudhry Jaffar iqbal, who heads the party’s election committee, made announcements about the unopposed election of all central office-bearers, except the secretary general.

He announced that one Prince Abdul Qadir Baloch had submitted nomination papers to contest for the seat of party president against Nawaz Sharif, but his papers were rejected as Mr Baloch was not even a member of the party’s general council.

As expected, most old faces have been re-elected to as the party’s central office-bearers.

Information Minister Pervez Rashid has been elected finance secretary in place of Pervez Malik, whereas Raja Zafarul Haq and Mushahidullah Khan have retained the offices of chairman and information secretary, respectively.

The office of secretary general has been kept vacant due to the failure of the leadership to finalise a consensus name for the key post. The general council members, through a resolution, authorised the party president to make nominations for the remaining offices.

PML-N’s last intra-party elections were held in July 27, 2011.

The PML-N had been reminded by the ECP last month that its intra-party elections had become overdue after expiry of the four-year term of its office-bearers in July last year.

Published in Dawn October 19th, 2016



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