PM Shehbaz calls for national consensus to tackle prevailing crisis
Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday reiterated that the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government chose the state over politics referring to a series of events that took place last year when former premier Imran Khan was ousted via a no-confidence motion.
PM Shehbaz during the special Senate session held to celebrate the golden jubilee of the upper house of the Parliament assured the citizens of the good times ahead. The premier recalled that when the PDM-led government took over the economy was facing very difficult challenges.
He reminded me that the last government had signed an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but did not adhere to its conditions. Pakistani is anxiously waiting for confirmation from Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar, as well as from the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, for fulfilling the external financing needs of $6 billion by the end of June 2023.
“We took over through a constitutional instrument and this coalition government faced a very difficult challenge and we had two choices,” he said, adding that the first option was that the current government could follow the path taken by the Imran Khan-led government or show the highest level of responsibility, maturity and statesmanship. He went on to say that the current government through a consultative process adopted a path which would protect Pakistan. ‘Govt’s tough decisions led to inflation’
“We had to take some bold decisions. And the process certainly led to inflation and tough conditions for the common man in Pakistan but we did not shy away from taking those decisions,” he admitted, claiming that the coalition government “saved the state and sacrificed their politics”. “I have to say that we are going through a difficult period but there is light at the end of the tunnel, provided you are sincere to the cause,”
PM Shehbaz added. He said that humans do make mistakes but it was important that lessons are learnt from those mistakes. The premier added that in the past many times, political leadership had sat together to find solutions.
He cited the example of 2014 when the political leadership united against terrorism.“Nations tackle such challenges with a political vision,” PM Shehbaz said. The premier further recalled that when he was in opposition he had attended the National Assembly session on COVID-19. He added that they listened to his predecessor’s speech but he left without listening to them.
“A national leader does not have ego, arrogance, hatred and anger,” PM Shehbaz said, lamenting that the law was being flouted today and institutions are being disrespected. “We were being thrown in jails on baseless charges. No one took the law into their hands unnecessarily,” he said, adding that in order to fix the economy there was a need for political stability. “If there is no political stability then economic stability is a dream that cannot be fulfilled,” the premier said. PM Shehbaz assured the people that Pakistan will secure the IMF tranche but called for all political leaders to sit together and take important economic decisions. “Political differences should be left aside and decisions should be taken.
There is still time for us to come to our senses,” he maintained. He said by assuming the government in tough economic conditions, the coalition parties had sacrificed their politics for the sake of the state. He told the session attended by the members well as the diplomatic corps that the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was expected to reach soon as the country had accepted even the most demanding conditions. He said the delay in the agreement with the IMF was also due to the disorder created by the political opponents.
“A leader is poised to ruin the country which cannot be allowed. We will not allow it,” he said and clarified that during an attempt to arrest him, the government showed restraint just to avoid any restlessness. “But it is not possible to put the interest of the state and its 220 million people at stake,” he warned. “Let us brighten the future of Pakistan. We should strive, not conspire, remove hurdles instead of creating, unite the nation instead of creating division,” the prime minister advised.
He recalled the historic incidents of the 1965 and 1971 wars, and war against terrorism when the whole nation exhibited unity to overcome the challenges. He expressed his gratitude to the friendly countries for extending support after the unprecedented floods hit Pakistan. The imported inflation created by the Ukraine war in form of surged oil, gas, food and fertiliser prices added up to the woes of developing countries like Pakistan. He told the gathering that the previous government signed and flouted an agreement with the IMF undermining Pakistan’s trust and making the 220 million people bear its brunt.
He said instead of shying away, the coalition parties opted course of protecting the state, ignoring its political cost. He said to satisfy his ego, ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to sit with his opposition even during the challenging circumstances of COVID-19, and confrontation with India and also ridiculed his idea of Charter of Economy. He said currently he was going in total defiance of the national institutions including the judiciary and promoting the politics of agitation.
PM Shehbaz said during the PTI government, that time opposition leaders were implicated in false cases but they neither uttered against the institutions nor violated the laws. He said Imran Khan launched a defamatory campaign against the incumbent government and labeled it as an “imported government” but later backed out of his claims of any US role in the removal of his government.
He reiterated his call for the national leadership to join heads and make major decisions on economic reforms, economic agenda and austerity measures and ensure their implementation. The prime minister also lauded the historical role of political leadership in the past which played its historic role in promulgating the 1973 constitution which granted equal rights to all the four provinces of the country. He said the Senate of Pakistan always made legislation on all issues of importance through minute deliberation and seriousness.