LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif on Monday claimed that Pakistan had become a beggar state whose sovereignty was repeatedly compromised by various episodes such as the Raymond Davis incident and the Abbottabad raid. He added that it was lamentable that the Abbottabad Inquiry Commission report had still not been made public, despite the lapse of a year.
Addressing a gathering in Lahore to mark Youm-e-Takbeer, Nawaz condemned the covert US operation in Abbottabad that killed former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, claiming that the incident had damaged Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Nawaz Sharif asserted that during his tenure, Pakistan had conducted nuclear tests, which had served to act as a deterrent against future tests by the country’s enemies: “India could have attacked Pakistan many times, but due to Pakistan being an atomic power, India did not have the courage to do so,” he held.
The PML-N leader recalled that he had been on a visit to Kazakhstan when India had conducted a nuclear test on May 11 1998, adding that he had immediately decided that Pakistan would also conduct a nuclear test. “It took only 17 days for Pakistan to successfully carry out its nuclear test on May 28 1998,” Nawaz affirmed.
The former prime minister said his government had rejected a Rs15 billion package and decided to test its nuclear bombs in 1998, adding that the day Pakistan had become a nuclear power, he had effectively broken the country’s begging bowl.
Nawaz Sharif claimed that the ineffective fiscal polices of the government had plunged the nation into tremendous debt, adding that every Pakistani was under Rs61,000 debt: “The current government and former dictator Pervez Musharraf are responsible for the current crisis the nation is facing now. Musharraf pushed the country’s economy 20 years back after imposing martial law in the country and ousting the democratic government,” he said.
Appreciating the then Chief Minister Balochistan Akhtar Mengal, Nawaz Sharif recalled that Mengal had supported him despite hailing from another political party. He deplored that people such as Akhtar Mengal and other Balochi leaders had been labelled traitors, claiming that they were just as patriotic and Pakistani as anyone else.
Nawaz Sharif claimed that under his leadership the country had witnessed a “golden era,” and referred to the current era as a dark chapter in Pakistan’s history. He also claimed that the general elections of 2008 had been rigged. He maintained that the PML-N had been deliberately deprived of at least 30 seats in the National Assembly in the last elections under Pervez Musharraf, but asserted that his party had demonstrated patience and restraint by supporting the government in line with the Charter of Democracy (CoD) which the PPP had gone on to violate. He claimed that President Zardari had indemnified Musharraf and promised him (Nawaz) he would not become president, but went on to dupe him along with the rest of the nation.
Nawaz Sharif said his party had not voted for President Zardari, adding that the two parties which dubbed each other “Qatil” today stood together as one. Nawaz also criticised the president for visiting Chicago to attend the Nato summit, and said, “Zardari should tell the nation what he was doing in Chicago.”
The PML-N chief questioned whether there was anybody in the government who could restore peace to Karachi and Balochistan, and claimed that those promising to resolve the country’s problems in 90 days, an obvious reference to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, were lying.
Nawaz Sharif asserted that mere speeches could not bring honour, and that the PML-N had demonstrated the honour of the country by conducting nuclear tests despite opposition from the rest of the world.
He stated that the government seemed to be least bothered about the situation in Balochistan, Karachi or Lyari, and that the sole ambition of the rulers was to defy the Supreme Court’s orders and practice corruption.
Party workers tried to meet Nawaz Sharif following his address but were stopped by security guards. This led to a protest, with one PML-N worker even lying down in front of the party leader’s car.