Nawaz wary of challenges facing incoming govt

Published February 29, 2024
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif co-chairs PML-N’s parliamentary party meeting on Feb 28. — DawnNewsTV
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif co-chairs PML-N’s parliamentary party meeting on Feb 28. — DawnNewsTV

• PML-N supremo endorses Shehbaz for PM slot, party’s tally in NA rises to 104 seats
• Ayaz Sadiq nominated for speaker; PPP’s Mustafa Shah joint candidate for deputy speaker role

ISLAMABAD: As the PML-N is all set to take the reins of the country, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday forewarned about looming challenges, saying the next two years in power would be quite challenging for the coalition because of economic and political instability.

These remarks were made by the PML-N supreme leader at the parliamentary party meeting which he co-chaired along with his brother party president Shehbaz Sharif. During the meeting, the elder Sharif also endorsed the deal between the PML-N and the PPP to form the government and hoped Shehbaz Sharif would rid the country of all ‘gigantic’ problems.

“Shehbaz is the party’s nominee for the office of prime minister while Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is our candidate for the post of the National Assembly speaker,” said Nawaz Sharif, who was the initial PML-N candidate for the PM slot.

Addressing the PML-N parliamentary party meeting, Nawaz Sharif said the next two years would be crucial for the new government in the Centre due to a fragile economy and political situation in the country. He said the new government will have to face the opposition vehemently initially. He added the first job should be to tame inflation and improve governance.

After two years, the next government will have ample opportunity to do a lot for people and the country. “The way Shehbaz Sharif had run the government for 16 months was quite challenging; even I could not manage,” he added. He lashed PTI founder Imran Khan for what he called “promoting” the politics of hatred and misguiding the youth of the country.

The decisions announced by Nawaz Sharif endorsed an agreement between the PML-N and PPP regarding a power-sharing formula as per which the office of the PM and the NA speaker will be given to the PML-N while other coveted positions, like slots of the Senate chairman and president, will go to the PPP.

Shehbaz touts PML-N achievements

On the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif recalled the achievements of PML-N and Nawaz Sharif in the previous tenures and said Nawaz Sharif had rid the country of electricity crisis and given a network of motorways across the country.

He said that with the support of the coalition parties, he would try his best to overcome the problems faced by the country. He also sought pledges from the PML-N MNA-elect to put an end to the woes of the country. He pointed out that after the joining of three independent candidates, the total number of PML-N seats in the National Assembly has increased to 104.

After a meeting of allied parties, a delegation visited the Islamabad residence of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to convince him to join the government. The Maulana informed his erstwhile allies that his party members would take oath in the maiden session. However, the meeting remained inconclusive, with PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq hoping that the JUI-F would rejoin the alliance.

‘Everyone to be on the same page’

Soon after the dinner reception, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal told reporters that the new government would take all coalition parties on board in all major decisions and would also invite the opposition as well.

“We will go to the opposition parties and JUI-F so that all political forces can make efforts to put the country on the path of progress and development,” he added.

Khawaja Asif said the PML-N had also tried to work with the PTI government when his party was sitting on the opposition benches but all its offers were rejected. He said legislation was passed about the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and IMF deal due to “pressure” from the military establishment and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

MQM leaders Mustafa Kamal, Khalid Magsi of BAP, Chaudhry Salik of PML-Q, and Aleem Khan of IPP reposed full support for Shehbaz Sharif and other joint nominees for the coveted slots.

He emphasised the need for political reconciliation to address the people’s problems. Mr Magsi said all allied parties have agreed on the name of Ghulam Mustafa Shah as their joint candidate for the office of NA deputy speaker.

Published in Dawn, February 29th, 2024

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