Thursday Apr 21, 2022
LONDON: PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif berated ex-prime minister Imran Khan for backtracking on every promise and said the PTI chairman broke the back of Pakistan's economy, so there was no reason for a foreign conspiracy against him.
"Were you involved in holding an atomic blast? Why will there be a foreign conspiracy against you?" Nawaz asked ousted premier Khan as he addressed a press conference alongside PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in London.
Nawaz — who was removed by the Supreme Court from the prime minister's office in 2017 — said during the PML-N's government, the country's economy was moving in the right direction.
"But now we will have to repair the damage done to the economy," Nawaz said as he stressed that ousting Khan from power was crucial for the country's development.
He also claimed that there has never been such a hostile political environment in Pakistan as there was during PTI's tenure.
"Khan promoted the culture of hooliganism and immorality."
Noting that there was an enormous challenge facing the new government, he called for joint efforts from all the parties to resolve Pakistan's issues.
"We need to work together as Pakistan saw the worst of times during the four years that Imran Khan was in power [...] he took U-turns on everything and always did the opposite of what he vowed to," Nawaz said.
Taking a jibe at the PTI chairman, Nawaz said that Khan had claimed that he would take his own life before approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial support.
"But we did not see him take his own life till now," he said.
The former prime minister said: “We are patriotic Pakistanis and Pakistaniat runs in our blood and veins and we feel sorry for the current state of Pakistan."
Criticising the Imran Khan-led government, he alleged that the former prime minister had ruined Pakistan in four years and destroyed the reputation of the country internationally. His rule has been the darkest chapter in the history of Pakistan.
"We are saddened by the state of Pakistan and what it has been turned into. There are enormous challenges we are facing but we will repair our country, through national consensus," he said.
He added that all stakeholders from all provinces including PPP, PML-N, JUI-F and others will play their role.
"We cannot absolve ourselves unless we perform our duties. I have been Pakistan’s PM three times and from the bottom of my heart I wish that we take this country towards stability and progress,” said Nawaz.
Concluding his bit, Nawaz thanked Bilawal for visiting him at the office and also informed journalists that they would hold another meeting tomorrow — but provided no details about it.
Taking over the press conference, Bilawal called the removal of Imran Khan as the prime minister a "historical" incident, adding that his party and PML-N have made history together in the past.
Talking about the efforts of both the parties in overthrowing the former prime minister's government, Bilawal said that it took three to four years for the joint Opposition to end the rule of the erstwhile "selected government" in a constitutional way through a no-confidence motion.
"We did not involve judiciary or any other institution to remove Imran Khan from power," said the PPP chairman. "We took a democratic step against the PM who was sitting in the prime minister's chair undemocratically."
He went on to say that the PPP and PML-N's support is as important as it was during the time of the Charter of Democracy (COD).
The PPP chairman said that together PML-N and PPP have achieved a “historic victory”, adding that both parties have made history in the past.
Praising the then Opposition's efforts, Bilawal said that the parties together have ended a "selected rule" which is a historic achievement.
"Every other prime minister of Pakistan was removed through undemocratic means but only Imran Khan was removed through a democratic no-confidence vote," he said, adding that a non-democratic selected system was imposed on Pakistan and luckily they were able to remove the government.
"We took no undemocratic step against him. We used the power of the parliament. Pakistan is at a crossroads today. We can either move towards democratic progress or we can go into reverse gear. Together we can achieve so much for Pakistan." said Bilawal.
Bilawal said that the current government has been formed at a time of “national crisis” and this is a “consensus government”.
He also said that using the experience and guidance of elders Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, the new generation will strengthen Pakistan to face the daunting challenges.
Bilawal said the “selected rule” of Imran Khan was there to deny the freedom of media and fundamental human rights to Pakistanis.
Bilawal and Nawaz Sharif will meet again on Friday for talks.
Speaking to journalists in London before the meeting, Bilawal said the coalition government would try to once again work towards the restoration of democracy in the country.
"There was no foreign conspiracy against Imran Khan, it was a democratic conspiracy [...] It was not White House, but a conspiracy hatched at the Bilawal House," he said.
He claimed that Nawaz's sacrifices for democracy were evident before everyone and noted that he came to meet the PML-N supremo today as once everyone is on the same page, only then can they resolve Pakistan's issues.
"PML-N and PPP will solve Pakistan's issues once they are on the same page," he said, asking all the institutions to remain within their constitutional parameters.