LAHORE: PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif has distanced himself from the slogans raised against an official of the armed forces at a rally organised in Faisalabad the other day by the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance of which PML-N is the major constituent.

“Whosoever had raised the slogans in Faisalabad has no link with the party. I categorically say that he is neither a worker nor office-holder of PML-N,” Mr Shehbaz said in reply to a question during a media talk on Sunday.

“Sloganeering against heads of various wings of the armed forces in public meetings is neither in the national interest nor it must be allowed at any cost (particularly) in the present international perspective in which a new cold war is about to engulf the region.”

Says inflation is hurting economy, causing unemployment

Postings and transfers in any (army) institution is a routine internal matter needing no intervention from outside and which had never been made in the past, maintained the PML-N leader, who was asked if seeking removal of the head of a prime intelligence agency is the policy of the party in view of the sloganeering in the Faisalabad rally on Oct 16.

Without naming names, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz had during her speech at the rally referred to the controversy on the appointment of the Inter-Services Intelligence director general. As she concluded her speech, a man appeared at the stage and asked the crowd to raise slogans against the ISI chief.

Mr Shehbaz, who is also opposition leader in the National Assembly, stressed that a professional and strong army is indispensable for defence, security and peace in a country, implying that making armed forces controversial may hurt their capabilities to achieve these objectives.

He expressed the hope that no political party, including the PML-N, would become part of any international conspiracy (against the forces) that could jeopardise the national defence.

He said the caravan of PDM has set out and it will rest only after exposing the PTI government before people.

Replying to a question about promulgation of ordinances by the government, he lamented that the PTI government was running the country through ordinances keeping the parliament locked for the last over three years, though it is the parliament that ensures the rule of Constitution and settles foreign and internal issues. “But the government is doing everything through presidential ordinances.” He said it’s bad luck for the nation that the incumbent prime minister had put under lock each and everything and destroyed the economy.

Referring to increasing disparity between rupee and dollar, he said the value of dollar had increased to Rs175 and if the flight of the greenback continued even the unity of the people would fail to save (the economy of) the country. The inflation, he said, was hurting the economy and causing unemployment.

He said the prime minister had taken another u-turn by heading an 80-member strong delegation to Saudi Arabia.

Recounting the efforts he as the Punjab chief minister had made against the menace of dengue, Shehbaz regretted that the incumbent rulers were doing too little in the fight against the disease.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2021

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