LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif criticised his political opponent Imran Khan and said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief speaks of change but takes orders from the ‘top’.
“Does the order from the top refer to Bani Gala,” Nawaz questioned while addressing leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Gujranwala and Faisalabad divisions.
“We shouldn’t engage in politics if we want to take orders from the top,” he remarked, adding that such behaviour is hypocritical.
He further remarked that Imran used to call Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari ‘a disease’ yet he voted for the arrow (the electoral symbol of PPP).
The former premier advised the PML-N leaders to start preparing for the upcoming general elections. “I don’t know what will happen in the future. I don’t know where I will be after 10 to 15 days. However, no matter what the circumstances my ideology will not change.”
“I ask [Punjab Chief Minister] Shehbaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, where is the writ of the government?” he questioned.
He also stressed that the people must change their mindsets in order to move forward. “We will have to change our perception of things and our way of thinking.”
“If we have been unable to bring about any substantial reform in the last 70 years then today, we should apologise and seek forgiveness from the Almighty and take steps and we should make amends,” he said.
The former premier remarked that people’s vote must be respected.
He questioned if there ever has been a prime minister in Pakistan’s history who was able to complete his/her tenure. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir, Nawaz Sharif, none of them completed their tenure as prime minister, he said, adding “this happens only in Pakistan. I have not seen something like this happen in any country.”
Speaking about the cases against him, Nawaz remarked that there is no substance in the cases against him, adding that the witnesses’ statement has made the case of his family stronger.
Nawaz shared that when PML-N came into power the economy was at 3.9%, but the party worked for the country and took the economy to 5.8%. “However, the projections for the next years are lower.”
“A country that was on the path to progress is going to be going backwards now,” he added.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry hit out at Nawaz after the former prime minister claimed PTI chief Imran Khan was speaking of change but taking orders from the ‘top’.
“The political environment Nawaz Sharif has grown up in, he cannot interpret [orders] in any other manner,” Chaudhry told media.
“Nawaz [always] deems democracy to be in danger whenever he is undergoing accountability. Talks of democracy don’t suit him,” the PTI leader said.
Chaudhry added that the PTI has snatched away the Senate chairmanship from PPP.