LAHORE: PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif was ready to dissolve the coalition government to go into polls following the ouster of PTI chief Imran Khan in a no-trust vote in April 2022, but claimed the decision was changed at the eleventh hour because “we did not want to give in” to purported threats.
“Shehbaz Sharif was all set to resign and he had prepared his farewell speech as well. But we refused to give in before threats,” the elder Sharif said during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
Nawaz Sharif was talking about the ‘difficult decision’ to form the Shehbaz-led PDM government in April 2022 following the ouster of Imran Khan.
It seems Nawaz Sharif was referring to the ‘threats’ of a long march in May 2022 by Imran Khan. Besides, there were also reports that former army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had also advised the PDM to go into elections after removing Mr Khan from power.
“We were not ready to come to power in 2022. …We then decided to move forward without any fear for the interest of Pakistan. We had to save the country from default,” he said and added that “we worked for the progress of the country but faced imprisonment and exile”.
‘Liberalisation and privatisation’
Mr Sharif said he was a strong advocate of a policy of liberalisation and privatisation. “We will privatise dams and motorways. I am in favour of the PIA’s privatisation; however, its name should not be changed.”
Nawaz Sharif chided the elements for disrespecting the parliament and prime ministers. “We committed wrongs to our prime ministers and parliament that’s why we are facing such a situation,” he said. Without mentioning Imran Khan, he complained “to whom we handed over the country and then the currency devalued; rather, the entire economy reached the verge of collapse”.
The PML-N leader also underlined the achievements of the previous tenure of his government. “During my government (2013-17), the dollar-rupee parity was $1-Rs104…had our policies continued, a dollar would have been at Rs50,” he claimed.
He said that strong economic decisions were the need of the hour to provide relief to the masses. He told the businessmen that economic policies would be made in consultation with them. He said if his party came to power it would put the country back on the road of progress.
British envoy calls on Nawaz
UK high commissioner
Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott called on Mr Nawaz. He spoke of Pakistan’s historic relations with London, which have grown into one of Pakistan’s most important trade, economic and investment ties.
According to a PML-N press release, the party supremo requested her to convey his facilitations on the birthday of King Charles III. He also spoke of his pleasure at the return of former prime minister David Cameron to the Foreign Office, recalling that he had great respect for the former UK premier who had been the first foreign leader to visit him, only weeks after he was sworn into the office in June 2013.
Ambassador Marriott thanked Mr Nawaz for the initiatives he had taken over the past years to enhance relations between the two countries, especially in areas related to health, education, and governance.
The PML-N leader urged the British government to play a “positive and meaningful role” in ensuring an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, pointing out that thousands of Palestinians, including children, have been killed due to Israel’s indiscriminate attacks.