Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday said that his government would hand over the power to an interim setup before the completion of its tenure next month.
The five-year term of the National Assembly commenced under the then-PTI government on August 12, 2018 and is set to be completed under a PM-Shehbaz-led ruling coalition.
However, the prime minister has indicated that the transfer of powers to a caretaker setup will take place a bit before the assembly’s tenure runs out.
Addressing a laptop distribution ceremony in Sialkot today, the premier said: “Our government will complete its term next month. We will hopefully go before the tenure’s completion and the new interim government will take over.”
Meanwhile, while speaking at a cheque distribution ceremony in Lahore earlier in the day, the prime minister said that if given an opportunity in the upcoming general elections, the entire PML-N leadership and party supremo Nawaz Sharif would “change the destiny” of the country by taking it on the path of progress and prosperity.
He said they would accept the public mandate in the upcoming polls and urged the people to take their decisions after looking into certain facts and by juxtaposing the performance of the PML-N governments with that of the PTI’s four years.
The prime minister, while lauding the statesmanship qualities of his elder brother, regretted that Nawaz was ousted from power “despite the fact that he ended hours-long crippling load shedding, provided laptops and loans to youth, brought muti-billions China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) power and road infrastructure projects during 2015.
“On the other hand, Imran Khan had a phobia about PML-N leadership and the opposition as day in and day out, he was bent upon putting them in jails with the framing of fake cases,” he said, adding that the PTI leader could not assimilate the “revolutionary steps” taken by the PML-N government.
All the youth programmes, PM Shehbaz said, were started during Nawaz’s tenure as 50,000 vehicles alone were provided to the people on merit across Punjab.
“The success of the loan scheme could be gauged from the fact that 99 per cent of loans were returned back to banks,” he added.
The prime minister maintained that Nawaz and the PML-N had experienced the “worst kind of political vendetta”, adding that the leadership was even exiled, but, unlike the PTI chief, “the PML-N chief never thought of anything against the country.”
The prime minister said that the PTI chairman was “brought to power through a fraud election [and] kept on chanting about corruption charges during his four years tenure but did not prove them”, adding that when he was removed from power in a constitutional manner, “he used dirty language and tactics against the state institutions.”
PM Shehbaz mentioned that the PTI tenure was “tainted with massive corruption scams” including sugar and wheat scams, the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project, the Malam Jabba corruption case, the sale of Toshakhana gifts, the Al-Qadir Trust case, etc and said: “No one can deny these stark facts.”
“Nawaz Sharif was accused of Panama papers and given punishment in Iqama charges,” he said, adding that the PML-N supremo appeared before the courts regularly but on the other hand, the PTI chief was being granted bail.
The prime minister said that allegations, scandals and the use of foul language were rife during the PTI’s government. “About $3 billion in loans were given to powerful families during the PTI’s government,” he said and questioned why this huge amount was not spent on the future of the youth.
“Toshakhana gifts for the country were sold in a shabby manner and efforts were made by Imran to protect his spouse from criminal cases.
“The worst kind of vengeance was unleashed against the opposition and the civil servants. What was the difference between Hitler and Imran Khan?” PM Shehbaz questioned.
He asserted that nations were harmed by such tactics.
“It was a heart-wrenching story but now it has become a part of the past,” the premier added.
The prime minister said that during his tenure as the Punjab chief minister, about one million laptops were given to the youth but the PTI leadership blamed them for using the scheme as a bribe.
The premier asserted that contrary to the PTI’s accusations, the initiative “brought about an IT revolution in the country, enabling the youth to continue their studies, work as freelancers and earn a respectable livelihood for their families”.
The prime minister stressed that these laptops were given purely on merit, and if proved otherwise, he would be held accountable as these resources belonged to the country.
Fuel price reduction
Regarding the reduction in the prices of petroleum products, PM Shehbaz said that it was possible due to the rupee’s appreciation against the dollar which provided the government an opportunity to pass on the relief to the public.
“The crude oil price in the international market is still high,” he added.
The prime minister said that it was also the positive aspect of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund which brought stability to the rupee’s value.
If the government had not reached an agreement, the prime minister observed that the difference between the value of the rupee and the dollar could have increased, leading to a further difficult economic situation.
“Those people who had conspired against the country, with the grace of God, all their machinations have been buried and their links abroad, including a recent statement by Israel against Pakistan, all these were failed,” he added.
Alluding to the country’s challenges, the premier said the government could stabilise the economy with revolutionary and bold steps and determination and commitment.