Wednesday Apr 27, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan "cannot afford enmity" with the United States, adding Islamabad needed to develop good ties with the superpower.
The premier's statement about having the need to strengthen the relationship with Washington came during an interaction with the journalists on Tuesday evening amid the PTI's claims that the Imran Khan government was ousted under a foreign-funded conspiracy.
PM Shehbaz Sharif also said that though the National Security Committee's statement is very clear and there is no foreign conspiracy, he will consider forming a judicial commission on the cable controversy.
Regarding the terror attack in Karachi, the prime minister said the incident was "very harmful to the country”, adding that Pakistan will have to improve its security. He said he has instructed the interior minister to visit Karachi on Wednesday (today) and plan with the Sindh government on the safety of Chinese nationals.
The premier also said that he planned to hold a comprehensive meeting on security after his return from Saudi Arabia. When asked who he will meet on his three-day trip to the kingdom, the prime minister said he hoped to meet the Saudi leadership to strengthen ties between the two countries.
Criticising the previous government’s foreign policy, he said that Saudi Arabia had given oil on deferred payment to Pakistan, as well as deposited money with the central bank to help Pakistan’s economy; the PTI government had told Saudi Arabia “we can raise the issue of Kashmir without you”.
On the government’s plan to manage the economy and to deliver on other fronts, he replied that “it is a very difficult challenge but not impossible.”
When the prime minister was asked if he will bring the PTI back to parliament to ensure the role of an effective opposition, he said that the resignations of PTI lawmakers would first need to be examined to determine which member of the parliament was forced to resign and who did so voluntarily.
About the PTI’s planned marches and rallies, he said that his government did not believe in politics of revenge, but he would also not tolerate anarchy in the country. About the media, Sharif said he believed in the freedom of speech and that it was important for the media to highlight the mistakes of his government.
However, when asked if he would roll back the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, he said that there should be a difference between the truth and a lie. On a question about the appointment of the new army chief, the prime minister said that it would be done in accordance with the rules.