PML-N chief takes PTI to task over economy

Published September 19, 2021
NAROWAL: PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif addresses a workers convention on Saturday. — Dawn
NAROWAL: PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif addresses a workers convention on Saturday. — Dawn

• Urges institutions, judiciary, ECP to ensure rule of law, fair polls
• Shibli rejects Shehbaz’s criticism

NAROWAL: PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif asked the national institutions, judiciary and Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure implementation of the constitution and rule of law in the country.

Shehbaz expressed these views while addressing a workers convention in Sialkot.

The opposition leader in the National Assembly said he and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan on his victory in the cantonment board elections, but when the ruling party took charge in 2018 it cheated the masses. The ruler who promised 10 million jobs had instead rendered five million people unemployed. Poverty, unemployment and inflation have made the lives of people difficult, he claimed.

Coming down hard on the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), he said the party had disappointed the people and destroyed economy in its three years in power. During the PML-N’s era, Shehbaz said, sugar was sold at Rs52 per kilogram from 2013 to 2018, while now it was priced at Rs110 per kg. Sugar worth billions of rupees had also been exported and robbed by Imran Khan’s friends, he alleged.

He said that the PTI government was installing plaques at development projects executed by the PML-N government.

“Even after 74 years, Pakistan is begging from the world despite being a nuclear power. Imran Khan used to say that ‘if dollar rises even by a rupee, the ruler is corrupt. If electricity bills increase, the ruler is corrupt’. But today, the dollar has reached Rs170 against the rupee. Who is responsible for the electricity and petrol bombs dropped on the people?” he questioned.

Shehbaz also asked about the billions the government bragged it would bring back from foreign countries and the $100 billion to be returned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Instead, the rulers were asking the IMF for loans day and night and printing notes, he alleged.

Read: Cost of living for working Pakistanis has become prohibitive, but spin doctors continue to tell tales of prosperity

People would have to fight the rulers against the myriad of issues they had been pushed into. The PML-N president said problems would have been solved if the rulers had utilised their time and energy to eradicate poverty, inflation and unemployment instead of avenging the opposition.

Shehbaz stressed the PML-N, under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, would win the next general elections from all over the country, adding that not only his party, but the entire nation demanded free and fair elections.

Recounting the accomplishments of his party’s government, the opposition leader said the PML-N had eliminated loadshedding from the country by setting up 11,000-megawatt power projects in four years. If the PML-N was in power, the country would be moving forward, industry operational and millions of people employed. He further said that steps were taken to provide facilities at hospitals. “We fought and controlled dengue,” he said, adding that the incumbent rulers earned millions of dollars instead of controlling coronavirus.

PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khawaja Asif and Rana Sanaullah also addressed the convention that was attended by a large number of party workers.

Responding to Shehbaz’s allegations, federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said that PML-N president was “not in his senses”. He said the opposition leader was talking about poverty and inflation while wearing a Rs10.5 million watch. “How can you talk about inflation when you live in a palace? Experience the hardships that a poor man does,” the minister told Shehbaz.

He also asked Shehbaz to explain how his bank accounts had swelled while PML-N was in power.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2021

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