Monday May 20, 2019
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday announced to launch a country-wide campaign after Eid-ul-Fitr against rampant inflation and unemployment by connecting with people.
Speaking to media personnel here in the capital, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, alongside other PML-N leaders, said the country's economy would not have come to this point had the incumbent leadership kept their mouths shut.
"Even today, I offer the same advice. If they cannot speak the truth, then they should not lie either," Abbasi said.
"We will tell the people on Youm-e-Takbir that [former PM] Nawaz Sharif is a political prisoner," he added.
The former premier noted that in light of the concerning inflation, the minimum wage should be raised to at least Rs20,000 a month. He also demanded rescinding the extraordinary hikes in the prices of petrol and diesel. "Prices [of petroleum products] should be set at a level that is bearable," he stated.
There should be no new tax in the forthcoming annual budget or increase in the rates of existing taxes either, Abbasi added.
The PML-N leader, with regard to the recently-signed deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said there were doubts and worries pertaining to the conditions of the deal and that the government should make the details public.
An upwards bump of 1.5 percent in the interest rate would create more problems for the people, Abbasi said. In response to a question, he said the government was already at new lows, which is why the aim was not to topple the rulers but to resolve the people's issues.
"Our goal is not to break up the government or popularity; our goal is to solve the public's concerns. The All Parties Conference [APC], therefore, would decide whether to initiate protests on the roads," the ex-PM explained.
The APC, scheduled post-Eid, was announced Sunday night following a meeting of the Opposition parties at an iftar hosted by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the federal capital. The political leaders discussed the formulation of a strategy against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
If the solution to the people's problems was in toppling the government, then a decision in that regard would be made by the APC. If the solution was in elections, then a demand in that regard would be made by the APC, he said.
Criticising the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Abbasi said a denial should have been issued in the aftermath of an interview given by the anti-graft body's chairperson, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, to a newspaper.
"The statements made in the interview are not categorised in the jurisdiction of the NAB chair," the PML-N leader said.
"That interview was not of the NAB but of Justice sahab and the press conference by the NAB chairperson has created more doubts.
"We will hold a press conference in two days in this regard," Abbasi said.
The reality of the anti-corruption watchdog has been laid bare in front of the Pakistani people, he mentioned, adding that, today, "everyone says what the NAB is doing is not accountability but revenge".
Abbasi further said: "We stuck by our slogan of 'respect the vote' in the past and we stick by it in present too; today, [former PM] Nawaz Sharif is in the jail because of his viewpoint.
"I do not consider anyone to be corrupt. I only deem anyone to be corrupt if there is evidence against them. If there is evidence against Nawaz Sharif and [Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairperson] Asif Ali Zardari, then present it in the court."