‘The best of times, the worst of times’: Pakistani politicians reflect on the year that was

Published January 1, 2023
This combo photo shows Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, President Arif Alvi, PTI chief Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.—DawnNewsTV/APP/file
This combo photo shows Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, President Arif Alvi, PTI chief Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.—DawnNewsTV/APP/file

Pakistani politicians rang in the new year with messages of solidarity as some figures reflected on the intense politicking that took place in the outgoing year while others spoke about the human toll of the catastrophic floods.

President Arif Alvi said the nation faced various challenges last year but overcame difficult situations with “hard work, sacrifice, determination and resilience”.

In remarks published by Radio Pakistan, the president said: “In the new year, as a nation, we must set our priorities correctly to overcome the challenges facing the nation.”

President Alvi said the country needed national solidarity, unity, discipline, persistent hard work, passion and dedication to make Pakistan a prosperous, developed, democratic and stable country.

Difficult year made tougher by floods

The state-run outlet also published comments from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who said he hoped the new year would usher in the end of hunger, war, terrorism, crime, sectarianism and class divisions from the whole world, including Pakistan.

The premier reiterated that his new year’s resolution was to work “day and night” for the improvement of the economic situation of the country, rehabilitation of flood victims, end of terrorism and reduction in sufferings of the people.

The prime minister also took to Twitter to lament that 2022 was “yet another tough year for Pakistan”.

“The worst flooding in history aggravated our economic challenges. My resolve for the New Year is to use my energy and time to get people out of difficulties, rehabilitate flood victims and put Pakistan on the path to growth & stability.”

‘The best of times, the worst of times’

PTI Chairman Imran Khan, meanwhile, invoked A Tale of Two Cities to look at 2022 as he railed against the incumbent government and the “conspiracy triggered by supreme self-interest” to remove his government, which he insisted had “one of the best economic performances”.

“‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. A government with one of the best economic performances was removed through a conspiracy triggered by supreme self-interest; and Pakistan was handed over to a bunch of criminals.

“They ran economy to the ground, gave themselves NRO2, and through NAB law amendments opened the doors for all white collar criminals to plunder,” he said.

He also said that year Pakistanis became a “nation”. “Despite all parties combining together against PTI, supported by ECP and establishment, PTI through massive public support won 75 per cent of by-elections and established itself as a truly national party,” he added.

He again mentioned the possibility of a default, and said despite that he had faith in the Almighty and “confidence in our people that without doubt in 2023 through elections PTI will form strong government” and bring about substantive structural reforms to get Pakistan out of the crisis the “imported government and its backers have plunged the country into”.

‘The year parliament triumphed over selected’

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari looked back at 2022 as the year the people marched, and “parliament triumphed over the selected”.

“We came together to save Pakistan. InshaAllah, 2023 will be the year hope triumphs over hate, truth over lies and unity triumphs over division.”

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