ISLAMABAD: In Pakistan, the issue of returning of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from London is subject of discussion of the day and both sides from government and PML-N are commenting which have confused the people.
PML-N leaders insisting that the party supremo will definitely return and will take active part in politics while leading the party. But the government ministers say that former prime minister will not come himself and the government will bring him and will send him to prison to complete his conviction.
Prime Minister Imran Khan hinted on Thursday that former prime minister and supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif will not return to the country without first striking a “secret deal” on the issue.
“He [Nawaz Sharif] had also returned to the country from Saudi Arabia [in 2007] under a deal,” the prime minister said while talking to some journalists in the corridors of the Parliament House.
When he was asked about reports that Mr Sharif could return to the country soon, Mr Khan said: “When he [Nawaz] had gone to Saudi Arabia, we used to hear that he was [either] coming today or tomorrow.”
In response to a question regarding speeches by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister said: “[A] speech of Shehbaz Sharif is like his job application.”
He said his government was managing its affairs well and was under no threat from the opposition. “The government is not in trouble,” he remarked.
Earlier, expressing surprise over media reports that self-exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is returning home as his (Nawaz’s) conviction could be withdrawn, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday: “How can a convicted person become prime minister of the country for a fourth time?”
Mr Khan was talking to a group of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders to discuss political developments in the country.
When contacted, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the prime minister was surprised as to how a convicted man (Nawaz) could return to the country to become prime minister for the fourth time.
Mr Chaudhry said the prime minister also wondered how the Supreme Court, after disqualifying a person (Nawaz), could allow him to contest election.
Interestingly, former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said in a statement on Friday that he was going to London to take Nawaz Sharif back to the country.
The information minister quoted the prime minister as saying Mr Sharif had failed to give money trail of their assets to the courts.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Khan presided over a special meeting of the federal cabinet that approved the Supplementary Finance Bill 2021, which was subsequently introduced in the National Assembly by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin.
In a tweet on the matter, federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the cabinet had approved the finance bill and it would be tabled in the National Assembly.
PTI elections and other issues
The prime minister also chaired a meeting of the PTI’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), which decided the party would hold its elections in 2022 under its slightly amended constitution of 2015.
The information minister told Dawn the meeting declared the recently formed 21-member committee for formulation of the party’s constitution as the CEC of the party. He said the party would make slight changes in its constitution of 2015 after which the polls would be organised.
Mr Khan had dissolved the party’s organisational structure after its recent defeat in the first phase of local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He had also formed the 21-member committee to amend the party’s constitution.
Prime Minister Khan also presided over a meeting of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) parliamentary party where Mr Tarin explained features of the finance bill and responded to the legislators’ queries about amendments to the State Bank Act.
After the meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told journalists that it was the parliamentarians’ right to be acquainted with the legislation about to be tabled in the parliament.
In response to a question, he said parliament was empowered to amend any law with a simple majority, if required, to remove any lacuna in it.
The meeting of the PTI’s parliamentary party was attended by cabinet members as well as other members of the parliament.
Shahbaz Sharif’s reaction
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition leader in National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif on Friday lashed out at Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan and said that he had surrendered to International Monetary Fund (IMF) in economic war.
While talking to the press, he said the government says that the burden will not fall on the poor people when in reality, this mini budget will seize the economys engine altogether.
This is the level of brutality and indifference this government has shown towards the poor people of Pakistan, said the opposition leader. Shehbaz Sharif further accused Imran Khan and company of increasing inflation in the country.
Earlier, the PML-N leader said that economic and political stability feeds directly into national security. He, in a tweet, said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insafs (PTI) tenure in government has been the worst by way of mismanaging economy and delivering poor governance.
Shehbaz added that never before have the citizens been this hopeless about their future and warned that all this has implications for national security.