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August 15, 2020

I-Day reminds us of sacrifices by forefathers: Shahbaz

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August 15, 2020

LAHORE: Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has said: “The 74th Independence Day reminds us of immense sacrifices rendered by our forefathers.” He said this while addressing a flag-hoisting ceremony organized by the PML-N at the party secretariat in Model Town on Friday. Shahbaz felicitated the nation on the Independence Day. “Pakistan was created under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah 74 years back. “It didn’t happen overnight but was a result of persistent struggle of our political leaders and forefathers. Thousands of people were martyred while migrating from one country to the other,” he said.

He said it is unfortunate that Pakistan is going through economic crisis despite being an atomic power. “We got independence but we are not free unfortunately. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is pressurizing Pakistan not to increase the salaries of common men,” he said. Criticizing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government, he said inflation is reaching its peak. “Inflation should have been controlled during coronavirus pandemic. People used to get free medicines during the tenure of Nawaz Sharif but now everything is expensive. All facilities provided by our government have been discontinued,” he said, adding that revenge is being taken in the name of accountability and called for political institutions to be activated and strengthened. Pakistan will not move forward without strengthening its institutions. “Look at Bangladesh and Sri Lanka! Where do they stand and where are we standing now,” he said. Speaking over the issue of Kashmir, he said Pakistan is standing firm with its Kashmiri brothers and sisters. “It is our duty to help Kashmiris win their right to self-determination,” he added.

Shahbaz said the country can never become what Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah wanted if divisive politics polarising the nation, persecution and victimisation in the name of accountability and beggary in the name of economic policy continues. He said the modern day battlefield is economic supremacy and countries lose and strengthen their sovereignty and independence not through wars but through economic independence and capacity. If Pakistan's government continues to build debt from various countries and surrender its sovereignty to international financial institutions like the IMF, the dream of true independence will remain elusive.

He said the nation, its political leaders and especially those in power will need to rise above their lust for power, privilege and money to work on a national agenda for the prosperity of Jinnah's Pakistan. He said the same commitment to purpose is required like the PML-N government under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif had. He reminded how the PML-N came into power with the country facing 18 hours load-shedding and an ailing economy. But within 4 years, the PML-N got rid of load-shedding and installed power capacity in excess to demand. He told the audience how under Nawaz's leadership, the PML-N installed billions of rupees projects with unquestionable transparency in a record time.

He said the PMLN government lifted the country out of economic turmoil to become one of the fastest growing economies. If even a dime of corruption in the projects done in the last PML-N government are proven, he would apologise to the nation and quit politics for good. But he said it is extremely disappointing to see how despite installed capacity, load-shedding is making lives of Pakistanis hell in heat and humidity. He expressed worry over how the 5.8 GDP growth plummeted into negative 1.5 and how the country is now buried under debt. He pointed out how the Peshawar BRT took the same amount of funds as three Metros launched by the PML-N government.

He said the priorities will need to change, the accusatory politics, persecution in the name of prosecution and victimisation in the name of accountability only to corner the opposition must end. The PML-N president renewed his call for a more aggressive and effective foreign policy for the right to self-determination for Kashmiris instead of chest-beating and cosmetic measures. He said the people of Pakistan and IHK will never forgive if Pakistan lapses in its efforts for the Kashmir cause.