LAHORE: Despite his party forming the government in the Centre, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday once again expressed his discontent over his 2017 ouster, a move he believes not only undermined his party but also significantly deterred the country’s progress.

The three-time prime minister has gone into low profile after his party failed to secure a majority in last month’s general elections. However, he has recently been seen chairing Punjab government meetings and issuing directions to bureaucrats and ministers.

Mr Nawaz returned to Pakistan in October after ending a four-year self-exile in the UK. His party ran an elaborate election campaign, making him the most favourite candidate for prime minister. How­ever, when his party failed to achieve the desired res­ults, his brother Shehbaz Sharif was made the prime minister of a six-party coalition government.

“Had my government not been sent home in 2017, Pakistan would have progressed in leaps and bounds,” Mr Nawaz told MNAs and MPAs from the Faisalabad division at a gathering in Lahore on Tuesday. Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz was also present at the meeting.

Referring to former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and PTI founding chairman Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif said that those who ousted him and seized power did wrong to Pakistan.

“Everyone has seen what the illegal invaders have done to this country. … Although it will be a difficult year or two, the time of relief will surely come. Together, we will bring Pakistan back to its place,” Mr Nawaz said.

He said the entire country, including politicians, administration and police, had to work hard to pull the country out of difficult times.

Earlier, Mr Nawaz vowed to bring to justice those former generals and judges who toppled his government “illegally.”

His close aide and incumbent defence minister, Khawaja Asif, recently said the parliament should summon Mr Bajwa, former ISI chief Faiz Hameed and Imran Khan and question them for their alleged role in toppling the Mr Nawaz’s government in 2017 and causing economic problems for the country.

However, some PML-N lawmakers, including Hanif Abbasi of the ‘Shehbaz camp’, targeted Mr Asif for his “uncalled-for demand”.

During the meeting, the Punjab chief minister discussed development schemes in Faisalabad, stressing that laws were being introduced to ensure the safety of workers and that they would be implemented in their true spirit.

Ms Sharif said besides Metro buses, 100 speedo buses were also being brought to Faisalabad.

She said the city was also being included in the project to construct 100,000 housing units for people with low incomes.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2024

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