General elections after 11 months: PM Shehbaz Sharif

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Saturday said that general elections were still 11 months away, and the coalition government had no intention of holding early polls.

Addressing a press conference here, he said, “We will work hard for 11 months and elections will be held on time.”

Shehbaz said Imran Niazi, who used to call every opponent a daku [dacoit] had himself proved to be a certified thief and a liar in the Toshakhana case. He said there was no threat to democracy in the country and there was nothing to fear about Pakistan. “The law will take its own course during the [PTI] long march, and the government will not allow the certified thief to enter Islamabad,” he warned.

“During the long march, the real question is whether people will go along a certified thief,” he said.

In Panama vs. Iqama, Shehbaz recalled, when the decision came about Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan used to say that if such a decision would have come about him, he would have left politics and everything. Now, as a result of his corrupt practices, a decision had come against Imran Khan, who was brought to power by massive rigging in 2018.

“After coming to power, Imran sold buffaloes for Rs23 lakh in the name of austerity. He used to say that when electricity and petrol prices go up, that means the prime minister of the country was a thief,” Shehbaz said while recalling the statements of Imran Khan.

Shehbaz said Imran sold out gifts of friendly countries and put money in his pocket. “If he would have sold the gifts and deposited the money in the national exchequer, I would also have appreciated him.” He sold out a gift, a wristwatch, in Dubai, which was worth Rs14-15 crore. He sold it to the same shopkeeper, who [had manufactured it on the orders of an Arab prince.] The shopkeeper informed the prince that the watch had not been stolen but it had reached him for sale. He said Imran Khan did everything to bring disrespect to the country.

The PM said that Pakistan had come out of the grey list. “I congratulate the entire nation from core of my heart. Many problems will be solved after getting out of the list. Pakistan has followed the recommendations of FATF and it admitted that Pakistan has implemented 35 conditions,” the PM said and added that Allah blessed Pakistan with success, which was not his but a collective success of Pakistan.

Shehbaz said Pakistan had sacrificed a lot in the war against terrorism; it was the success of all individuals, institutions, authorities who worked day and night. He also expressed special thanks and congratulated Bilawal Bhutto. Continuing his speech, the PM said Bilawal Bhutto, along with Hina Rabbani Khar, played an important role in this regard. He said the allied parties provided full support, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his team also played a great role.

The PM said it was a national issue, the fate of 22 crore people was tied to it. Earlier, despite being in the opposition, “we extended full support in making laws in the Senate and the National Assembly and even faced taunts at that time with great patience”. He said Pakistan was not in the grey list during the Nawaz Sharif government.

Answering a question, the PM said the appointment of the army chief was discretion of the sitting government under the Constitution. It was a constitutional matter and the appointment would be made after looking at the names given in the panel.

The prime minister said that the coalition government had done nothing wrong at all but, he regretted, Imran Niazi was making wicked attempts to create instability in the country.

Shehbaz said Imran Niazi, while sitting in the Prime Minister’s House, only talked about democracy, but acted as a fascist. He claimed that Imran Niazi was not worried about meeting the quorum during the FATF legislation, and he did nothing for bringing the country out of the grey list.

On the issue of flood victims, the premier said: “Winter has started and the flood victims are facing difficulties. We have to give blankets and food to the victims before start of winter.”

The prime minister said that all these problems would be solved by working together and not by staging rallies and sit-ins. Shehbaz regretted that nothing had been done by the Imran Khan government in the country except for spreading lies and rumours.

He said today Imran Niazi was speaking against the chief election commissioner, but earlier he termed him a very honest man and even the name of chief election commissioner was proposed by Imran Niazi.

The PM said that British National Crime Agency (NCA) conducted an investigation against him for two years and finally they said in the London court that they did not find anything wrong. He said the British agency declared him clear, his daughters were dragged to the courts, his two daughters were not related to any case. Zardari’s sister was also dragged to courts and false and fake cases were made against other opposition members by Imran Niazi.

He said Imran’s sister was given an ‘NRO’ by the FBR; Aleema Khan did not declare her assets for many years. “I used to say that there was NAB-Niazi nexus. A woman was kept locked in the Prime Minister’s House, the NAB chairman was blackmailed,” he added.

“Imran Niazi is the embodiment of lies, dishonesty. While Bani Gala was regularised, the houses of the poor were demolished,” he said adding when he talked about the Charter of Economy, in return he was called a robber and a thief.

Replying to a question about allegations of the Punjab chief minister that the federal government was not allowing Punjab to import wheat, he said wheat was produced not imported. He said the government could not allow the private sector to import wheat. He said “we saved billions of rupees in wheat import.

“You do not mention the savings in wheat, we were taking steps to reduce inflation and not like Imran Niazi we surround people’s houses,” he told the media in reply to a question. He said since arrival of Ishaq Dar in the country, dollar went down by 10 to 12 rupees.

About the return of former PM Nawaz Sharif’s to Pakistan, he said if Allah wills, Nawaz Sharif would definitely come back and he would go to the airport to receive him.

Shehbaz Sharif said he was ready to go to every door for betterment of the future generations, and there was only one condition for it that there should be no deception on the other end.

To a question, the premier said the coalition government was formed six months ago. During this period, fuel adjustment charges had been waived for people using up to 300 units of electricity. He said he was also asking friendly countries for gas and questioned why the certified thief did not bring cheap gas for the nation.

About Pak-India relations, he replied that he fully agreed to the idea of restoring Pakistan-India relations. But firstly, India would have to resolve the Kashmir and other issues.

Replying to a question about backdoor contacts with the PTI, Shehbaz parried the question by telling the journalist to meet him at the backdoor then he would tell him.

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