Sunday October 02, 2022

No independence without economic freedom: PM Shehbaz Sharif

Shehbaz Sharif said the incumbent government was committed to taking the country to economic self-reliance

August 14, 2022
PM Shehbaz addressing the nation on the eve of countrys 75th Independence Day on August 13, 2022.
PM Shehbaz addressing the nation on the eve of country's 75th Independence Day on August 13, 2022.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday night maintained that the incumbent government was committed to taking the country to economic self-reliance. He said the concept of independence was not possible without economic freedom.

“To achieve this very much objective, I, as the opposition leader, had offered Charter of Democracy and today as prime minister repeat the same offer with sincerity,” the prime minister, in his televised address to the nation on the eve of 75th Anniversary of Independence of Pakistan, said. The prime minister said it was high time the nation continued its journey in the right direction and the national interests should not be sacrificed for the sake of self-ego and stubborn attitude. “We should remember that the real political leadership, instead of eyeing elections, takes care of future of the coming generations,” he said. The prime minister said that regretfully, the nation was facing a new crisis of disappointment as some elements were sowing seeds of disunity and hatred. “They are making nefarious efforts to create disunity and division within the nation,” he said adding that economic crisis created by the previous government has worsened the situation and economic dependence has become the nation’s identity.

The prime minister pointed out that the country and the nation are facing brutal facts which can be braved with political stability, national unity, economic and political stability and we have to reconstruct Pakistan with the same spirit with which it was created. He said the present government under a policy controlled unnecessary imports, which resulted in appreciation of Pakistani rupee against the US dollar. He said the country imports fuel of billions of dollars to generate expensive electricity but the incumbent government has started planning mega solar projects to produce electricity on less rates. “On the one hand, we will save billions of dollars by not importing fuel and, on the other hand, consumers will be supplied electricity on cheaper rates,” he said.

Shehbaz Sharif said he has shown both sides of the pictures but the way out is hidden in strong faith and commitment. “There are opportunities at every step but there is a need of commitment and will to deliver to cash in on such opportunities,” he said adding that the incumbent government had already started endeavour to brave off the challenges and is working day and night to bring the country out of crisis. “Our struggle for economic revival is still continuing and because of it, Pakistan has been saved from default,” he said.

He pointed out that the last government left behind record trade deficit of $48 billion and to meet the deficit, the present government has to seek loans from friendly countries and international financial institutions. “It is not real independence that the previous government received record loans to the tune of $20 billion in less than four years and payment of interest of the same loan has become difficult,” he said. He said that Pakistan is self-sufficient in wheat but now the present government, due to incompetency of the last government, is compelled to import the same commodity of billions of dollars.

Shehbaz Sharif further mentioned that the last government while showing criminal negligence did not finalise a single agreement for import of LNG on cheaper rates. “This is the reason of present hike in electricity tariffs and loadshedding in the country,” he said. He questioned at whose behest the last government shut the CPEC project and caused an irreparable loss to the country’s economy. The prime minister paid tributes to the heroes and workers of freedom movement and greeted all Pakistanis living across the world on the 75th Independence Anniversary of the country. “There is no denying of the fact that the history and creation of Pakistan are written with blood of lakhs of people,” he said.

But he said today just a greeting message is not enough but there is a need to adopt the real objectives of the Independence Day. “In the last 75 years, we just celebrated Independence Day, Pakistan Day, Quaid-i-Azam Day and Allama Iqbal Day but never adopted the real objectives for observing these days,” the prime minister said.

He regretted that the country had not been taken to such stage where any Pakistani could say from core of heart that souls of Quaid-i-Azam and martyrs would be satisfied with what was achieved in the last 75 years. “That is why I am feeling dissatisfaction,” he said adding that the fact should be admitted that the young generation could not be transmitted and given what they deserve.

He observed that a nation enriched with guidance of the Quaid and thoughts of Iqbal is still searching for the destination and as to why the nation is facing many challenges, top of them the economic crisis. “We are facing such crisis because we have staggering faith in our self-reliance, self-confidence and self-respect,” he said adding that the national character is possible only with courage, confidence and will to deliver and said that with the same spirit Pakistan was achieved. He said that the political leadership of the country took forward objectives of creation of Pakistan with democratic and constitutional struggle. “The political leadership has not closed eyes to facts, braved all the challenges with wisdom and gave a consensus Constitution, gathered the nation, established institutions and progressed agriculture and industry and made Pakistan a respectable nation in the community of world,” he said.

He recalled that it is the nation which under leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto started nuclear programme and then prime minister Nawaz Sharif completed the nuclear programme not succumbing to any pressure, making defence of the country invincible.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, while mentioning names of Arshad Nadeem and Nooh Butt who won gold medals at Commonwealth Games, said Pakistani men and women achieved distinctions in sports at the international level while the same nation jointly defeated menace of terrorism. “These are a few examples of faith and determination that our nation is capable of achieving every objective,” he said.