LAHORE: PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday said the opposition alliance would not allow doing any business of the government in Parliament unless a parliamentary commission to investigate the election rigging and engineering of results was formed and presented a non-partisan report.
He said the PML-N had given multibillion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to the country as a gift, but the PTI gave nothing but alarming price hike to the people in first few week of its government.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s Model Town secretariat where he was flanked by Marriyum Aurangzeb, Ahsan Iqbal and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Shahbaz he said Imran Khan’s premiership was a product of a rigged elections and he had somehow forgotten that he was the most disputed prime minister in the democratic history of the country. He said Imran had promised him in person after becoming the prime minister that he would constitute the commission and ensure that all concerns of the political parties were addressed; however, 20 days into the government, there was no sign of that that commission. Shahbaz said he hoped that Imran would not take another of his infamous U-turns over the issue, “because if he does, the opposition alliance reserves the right to political legal response”.
The PML-N president, quoting a media report regarding Imran asking for a thorough probe into Lahore and Multan Metro projects, said the PML-N government had saved billions of public money in development projects and there was not a penny of corruption in these ventures. “It would have seemed like an honest effort at establishing accountability of public money and not political victimisation, if Mr Khan had included the name of Peshawar Metro in these investigations as well, especially when the Peshawar High court had already pointed out that a blacklisted company was given contract for the Peshawar Metro and the incompetence of the government had cost tens of billions to the exchequer,” he noted.
Shahbaz said although it had only been 20 days of the PTI government, he was obligated to hold press conference because of the massive burden imposed on the people in the form of 46 per cent increase in gas price, the increase in electricity price by Rs 5 per unit and the raise in fertilizers’ rate.
This, he said, would hit the domestic consumer in two ways – increase in their utility bills and the hike of consumer products exponentially as well causing severe inflation. The government had promised the people a new and better Pakistan, but in its very first month had made life unimaginably difficult for the middle and poor classes of the country, Shahbaz remarked.
He pointed out that on one hand, the PTI government had jacked up the electricity price and on the other power outages had started torturing people again. Six to eight hours of loadshedding in urban and 10 to 12 hours in the rural areas was currently being practiced, he added.
He once again told that the PMLN government, under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, had virtually eliminated the loadshedding from the country and it was the current government’s responsibility to keep it that way.
Shahbaz also severely criticised the government’s actions and diplomatic posturing vis-à-vis Pak-China relationship. He questioned the rationale behind the information minister receiving the Saudi foreign minister and not the Chinese foreign minister. The foreign minister should have welcomed his counterpart, he stressed.
The PML-N president said China had been the biggest supporter of Pakistan at all fronts be it economic, strategic, the UNO, crisis management, regional support or any other domain, China had stuck with Pakistan. “What exactly was the purpose behind this diplomatic snub to our most important and trusted ally?” questioned Shahbaz.
Shahbaz also pointed out that Imran had not mentioned CPEC once, which was tantamount to the massive gift by the Chinese to Pakistani people, which would not only bolster the economy but also create tens of thousands of jobs and result in technology transfer to Pakistan.
He appreciated Imran’s and concern regarding lack of water management through hydel projects, but expressed disconcert over the fact that he had tried to present as if the PML-N government had not done anything regarding that.
“The PML-N government spent over Rs 122 billion on land procurement for the Bhasha Dam and had gotten its feasibility study done as well, therefore to portray that the PML-N government and its leader Nawaz Sharif was insensitive to this issue is plain wrong,” he said.
Shahbaz added that with the land procured, the only component which needing raising money was the reservoir building, because the rest would be invested by investors who would build the power generation infrastructure.
He said he and his party had always respected and lauded the army as an institution and it was just certain individual and their actions that the party had taken an issue with.
Shahbaz said the PML-N won’t allow the government to slash development budget as that would stop the country’s progress and public welfare. He said the PML-N government had increased the development budget from Rs 300 billion to Rs 1,000 whereas the PTI was going to slash it by Rs 150 billion which won’t be allowed at any cost.