Pakistan’s self-exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his country is begging money from the world while India has reached the moon and hosted the G20 summit, blaming the country’s former generals and judges for its economic woes.
Pakistan’s economy has been in a free fall mode for the last many years, bringing untold pressure on the poor masses in the form of unchecked double-digit inflation.
“Today Pakistan’s prime minister goes country to country to beg for funds while India has reached the moon and is holding G20 meetings. Why Pakistan couldn’t achieve the feats India did. Who is responsible for this here?” Sharif asked while addressing a party meeting in Lahore from London via video link on Monday evening.
The 73-year-old supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party further said that India had followed the economic reforms initiated by his government in 1990.
“When Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the prime minister of India, it had only a billion dollars in kitty but now India’s foreign exchange reserves have risen up to $600 billion,” he said and questioned where India has reached today and where Pakistan is left behind begging the world for some bucks.
In July, the IMF transferred USD 1.2 billion to cash-strapped Pakistan, part of the USD 3 billion bailout programme for nine months to support the government’s efforts to stabilise the country’s ailing economy.
Sharif has for the first time announced his return to the country on October 21 to lead the party’s political campaign in the upcoming elections, ending his over four years of self-imposed exile in the UK.
In November 2019, Sharif, serving a seven-year jail term in AlAzizia Mills corruption case, was helped by the then army chief Gen Bajwa to leave the country on medical grounds. The PML-N says it will secure a protective bail for him before his arrival to Lahore next month. His party has planned a historic welcome on his return.
Sharif lashed out at the military and judicial establishment of 2017 whom he termed responsible for sending him home from the office of the prime minister.
“The man (Nawaz) who rid the country of power load shedding was sent home by four judges,” Sharif said in his emotional speech. He added that then-army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and then Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief General Faiz Hamid were behind his ouster.
“(Former) chief justices Saqib Nisar and Asif Saeed Khosa were tools of [the former army chief and his spy chief]. Their crime is bigger than a murder offence. Giving them pardons will be an injustice to the nation. They don’t deserve pardon,” Sharif said, vowing to hold them accountable.
“These ‘characters’ who unleashed economic misery on the people of Pakistan will have to face accountability,” he pledged.
Sharif also declared that his party will win in upcoming general elections.
Since some former aides to Sharif’s PML-N have been appointed to the caretaker federal cabinet, and the party (PMLN) is not joining the demand to hold elections within 90 days after the dissolution of the assemblies, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari suspects the Sharifs of cosying up to the powerful military establishment.
Some PPP leaders have accused the PML-N of becoming a ‘darling of the military’ and conspiring against its former allies to gain power.