LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday that he had no intention of seeking revenge against his political opponents. Simultaneously, he called upon all constitutional institutions to collaborate for the country’s development, as the three-time prime minister ended four years of self-imposed exile in London.
The former prime minister launched his party’s campaign for next year’s election in a rally attended by thousands upon his arrival in Islamabad. He also signed and filed appeals against the convictions that led to his imprisonment before he left the country in 2019.
Despite being ineligible to run for or hold public office due to his convictions, Nawaz pledged to address record inflation.
“I have no desire for revenge; all I wish for is to see poverty and illiteracy eliminated in the country,” said the 73-year-old veteran politician during his address at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore.
“I haven’t seen you for a long time, but my affection for you remains unwavering. You have never betrayed me, and I have never betrayed you,” he told the crowd, sporting his signature red scarf.
Nawaz emphasized that his determination to serve the country has not waned even after four years.
“We must decide how to regain our lost status,” the former premier stated while committing to resolving the nation’s issues.
‘Progress not possible under conflict with neighbors’ Nawaz also hinted at the need to improve Pakistan’s relations with India, emphasizing that “we can’t make progress while in conflict with our neighbors.”
He stated that Pakistan must proceed “with grace and tactics” to address the Kashmir issue.
Nawaz began his speech by expressing pride in witnessing the loyalty of the people.
He recalled that whenever he had the opportunity, he served the country loyally, resolved Pakistan’s issues, and didn’t hesitate to make sacrifices.
The former premier lamented the “false” cases against him, Shehbaz, Maryam, and other PML-N leaders.
Nawaz references power bills during his time as PM The PML-N supremo recollected that during his time as prime minister, Pakistan became a nuclear power and overcame load shedding.
“Remember those 18 hours of load shedding? Who put an end to it?” he asked, displaying a bill that has since risen due to the rupee-dollar exchange rate and increased fuel prices.
‘Some wounds never heal’ Nawaz emphasized that “some wounds never heal,” referring to the loss of loved ones. He recalled the passing of his mother and wife during his legal battles.
He acknowledged that these women would no longer be there to welcome him at home, as they had in the past.
Nawaz shared the emotional moment when he had to inform his daughter of her mother’s death during his time in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.
“Why are my governments ousted?” Nawaz asks once again Reflecting on Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998, the former premier revealed that then-US President Bill Clinton and other world leaders pressured him not to conduct the tests and even offered $5 billion to dissuade him. However, he declined the offer and made Pakistan a nuclear state.
Without naming deposed Premier Imran Khan, Nawaz questioned whether he could have refused the US president.
He maintained that they conducted the nuclear tests and gave India a befitting response.
Nawaz wondered aloud, “Are our [PML-N] governments overthrown and verdicts issued against us for refusing the US and taking a stand in Pakistan’s interest?”
Nawaz laments ongoing economic crises PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif claimed that no one in Pakistan would be jobless if his party were allowed to continue the momentum of the 1990s.
He asserted, “I was ousted because I didn’t allow the dollar rate to fluctuate.”
Nawaz lamented that due to the ongoing economic crisis, “one has to decide whether to pay electricity bills or take care of one’s children.” He noted that people are struggling, some resorting to borrowing money to pay their bills.
“[During my tenure], the poor had enough financial resources to at least seek healthcare and get themselves treated.”
Nawaz criticized his disqualification in 2017, stating that the economic challenges began before Shehbaz’s tenure, with the dollar’s surge and the rising prices of daily essentials and fuel.
“Pakistan was on its way to becoming an Asian tiger; we were preparing to ensure Pakistan’s inclusion in the G20.”
Nawaz slams PTI’s sit-ins Turning his attention to rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Nawaz criticized the sit-ins staged by the former ruling party.
He remarked that he was addressing a political gathering after six years, as he faced legal cases for two years.
Nawaz brought up electricity bills from May 2016 during his tenure as PM when sit-ins were taking place, but he emphasized that his government continued to work for the betterment of the people.
Commenting on skyrocketing inflation, the PML-N supremo highlighted that during his tenure, bread was sold for Rs4, sugar at Rs50 per kilogram, and petrol at Rs60 per liter.
“The US Dollar was at Rs104,” he said, adding that they prevented the local currency from depreciating against the dollar.
He once again questioned his disqualification as prime minister and asked the audience if they agreed with the verdicts against him.
Nawaz claimed that if the work initiated in 1990 had continued, there would be no poverty and unemployment in the country.
Nawaz condemns Israeli bombardment of Gaza In his remarks on the ongoing Israeli bombardment of Palestine, Nawaz condemned the brutality and victimization of Palestinians. He prayed for Allah’s assistance for the Palestinian people.
“We urge the world powers to work toward a viable solution to the Palestine issue.”