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LAHORE: Expressing concerns over the country's state of affairs, including its poor economic indicators, former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif expressed his resolve to play his role to save the country.

"I cannot sit by and watch Pakistan's current situation," he said.

"No one should try to silence me. I will not keep quiet," Nawaz told a meeting of the PML-N Central Working Committee (CWC) via a video link on Thursday.

Raja Zafarul Haq, Raja Farooq Haider, Ahsan Iqbal, Maryam Nawaz, Zafar Iqbal Jhaggra, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Muhammad Zubair and members of the CEC attended the meeting, which deliberated on the situation emerging in the wake of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif's arrest.

Nawaz criticized the PTI government for failing to control inflation and alleviating poverty.

He said that during the tenure of his government the country's growth rate was 5.8 percent whereas today it was nearing -1.4 percent.

"The PML-N government had kept the dollar rate and prices of everyday commodities under control," he said.

He reiterated that their struggle was not against Imran Khan but against those who stole the elections and brought him into power.

"You have destroyed Pakistan in every field," he said while addressing the government and asked it where the 10 million jobs it had promised the people were.

"Where are the people who brought you into power? They should answer to the nation as well.

"Imran is a selected prime minister imposed on this country. We don't give any importance to him," he said.

"Those who brought this gift to us should answer. Why did they steal the elections and the mandate of the Pakistani people," he said.

Nawaz told the PML-N activists that he would not let them down come what may.

He alleged that the PTI government was brought into power through rigging and through stealing of the votes of smaller parties and independent lawmakers.

Nawaz said that his brother Shehbaz Sharif had been arrested without being heard while Imran Khan refused to accept the resignation of Lt-Gen (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa who, he alleged, had amassed assets worth billions in the United States.

Nawaz read out the oath taken by the armed forces after being recruited and said, "I salute the soldiers who obey the Constitution and serve the Motherland. I paid tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the defence of the country, but I do not salute those who climb the Prime Minister's Office's gates to arrest the sitting prime minister."

He further said that he had no respect for the people who amassed foreign assets and stole people's mandate.

Referring to the motorway and Nankana Sahib rape incidents, he said that the criminals had been roaming freely.

He alleged that the PTI government had ruined the country and Kashmir. "Those who brought Imran Khan into power are responsible for soaring inflation and ruined economy. Pakistan is the most backward country in South Asia, while no country is ready to stand with us today."

Meanwhile, the PML-N has announced holding of phased-wise protests against Shehbaz Sharif's arrest from Saturday (October 3). In the first phase, protest demonstrations will be held in Lahore and then in the second phase in Gujranwala, Faisalabad and other cities of Punjab.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb told the media that if an attempt was made to arrest Maryam Nawaz, the Pakistani people would respond.

She said that Imran Khan was responsible for Nawaz Sharif's health. "All the medical reports of the former prime minister are with the Punjab government. Nawaz Sharif's health deteriorated in NAB custody, but the government politicized this. Nawaz will not return without completing his treatment. Do what you have to do," she added.

Meanwhile, the PML-N has expelled five party MPAs, Ashraf Ali Ensari, Muhammad Ghias-ud-Din, Faisal Khan Niazi, Jaleel Ahmed Sharaqpuri and Nishat Daha "for violation of party discipline by meeting Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar".

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020