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ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government faced a lot of difficulties after coming into power but it successfully averted the default threat to the country through “tough decisions”.

Prime Minister Shehbaz expressed these views in his farewell address to the nation as the country’s chief executive on Sunday.

“Time and record will be a witness that we saved the country against possible default and consequent destruction,” the prime minister said.

Decision likely today: Shehbaz

Apparently, referring to the ouster of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government through a parliamentary no-confidence vote, the prime minister said: “We came to power through constitutional way and leaving (the government) in a constitutional way.”

He began his speech by announcing that he was handing over the responsibility of running the country to a caretaker government following the conclusion of his government’s 16-month tenure.

The prime minister blamed the previous PTI government for inflation and said his government was compelled to make difficult decisions to save the country from default.

While acknowledging that inflation increased significantly during his rule, the prime minister said the shortage of essential commodities could have led to riots and chaos, had the country gone bankrupt.

He said the enemies of the country wanted to see “terrible scenes” in the country but all their conspiracies were foiled. “Selfish people loved only their own political gains.”

Now, he said, the time had come to provide those resources to the impoverished and poor as these resources were rightfully theirs’. “The poor have given enough sacrifices. It is now time for the rich to render sacrifices.”

Referring to the episode, he said that his government was contented at the end of its term that his government had not been dishonest in using the powers given to it.

About the nomination of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar for the interim PM’s slot, he congratulated him and said, “He belongs to our great province Balochistan, and I am sure that … he will ensure that free and fair elections are held in the country.”

He also expressed gratitude to the nation and leaders of other parties for showing confidence in him to fulfil the responsibility of the country’s chief executive.

About a bailout loan agreement reached with the International Monetary Funds (IMF) in the last days of his government, he said the deal had brought economic stability to the country.

The prime minister said, “We tread a thorny and fiery path during the last 16 months. It was clear soon after we came to power that Pakistan was facing extremely destructive circumstances. A delay of even a day would have caused irreparable damage to the state.”

“If we had held elections immediately after coming to power, we would have made political gains. But the grave situation in the country did not allow us to make political gains,” he said.

“We were not selfish and prioritised Pakistan’s national interests … We made the most difficult of decisions, and time proved that we made the right decision,” he added.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed the hope that businessmen and industrialists would share the burden of the poor and contribute to making the country financially independent, as they had done in the past.

He also lauded the armed forces for their sacrifices and bravery in protecting the country.

The prime minister said the federal government in collaboration with provincial governments and military institutions has started implementation of this comprehensive plan of development and prosperity.

“Today, the entire nation has agreed on a common narrative of financial independence, just like it had previously united on a narrative to counter terrorism,” he said, adding that the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) had been constituted to achieve financial independence, under which projects worth billions of dollars were to be initiated in the coming months and years.

The prime minister at the end of his address made an apparent reference to the PTI and urged the people not to let the party come to power again. “The way the dreams of progress were destroyed during the past four years — don’t let this blackness and destruction be foisted in the nation again.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Ch. K. A. Nye Aug 14, 2023 08:02am
The delusions of speedy never end.
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Jeremy Aug 19, 2023 11:19am
Crooks given a free hand by the compromised generals.
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