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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif stressed on mending relations with India, Afghanistan and Iran on Saturday, observing that the country cannot expect to be taken seriously on a global stage if neighbouring countries were upset with it.

Speaking at the sixth session of the party’s parliamentary board in Lahore, the three-time former prime minister said that improving ties with India, Afghanistan, and Iran, and strengthening ties with China was on his party’s agenda. Hinting at the PTI government’s tenure, he noted that attempts were made to “sabotage” the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after his government.

The PML-N chief acknowledged that the nation has faced significant challenges over the past four years. He reflected on the “positive period” in 2017 when he served as the prime minister, highlighting “robust development”.

However, he expressed disappointment that the momentum of development was disrupted by certain individuals, hindering Pakistan’s prosperity.

پاکستان مسلم لیگ (ن) کے پارلیمانی بورڈ کا اجلاس شروع
یہ پارلیمانی بورڈ کا چھٹا اجلاس ہے
اجلاس پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن) کے قائد محمد نواز شریف اور پارٹی صدر شہباز شریف کی زیرصدارت ہو رہا ہے
پاکستان مسلم لیگ (ن) کی سینئر نائب صدر اور چیف ارگنائزر مریم نواز شریف، الیکشن سیل کے سربراہ… pic.twitter.com/oMlxFROFSJ
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) December 9, 2023

Nawaz attributed the current inflation to economic mismanagement that began during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) government in 2019, with a substantial decline observed in 2022 by the time Shahbaz Sharif, his brother, assumed power. “Had Shahbaz Sharif not taken charge, the country would have defaulted,” the elder brother maintained.

Lamenting the country’s reins being “handed over to an incompetent person”, the former premier emphasised that despite “PML-N’s contributions in various fields such as economy, defense, and foreign affairs”, his government was repeatedly ousted from power.

Reflecting on his past expulsions in 1993 and 1999, Nawaz questioned, “Was it because we managed things properly that we were ousted? Was it because we opposed the Kargil war? A decision that turned out to be correct over time,” he added.

Read PML-N on Cloud 9 over Nawaz’s acquittal

He highlighted the PML-N’s “commitment to national security”, including conducting nuclear tests under pressure. The PML-N supremo mentioned that two Indian prime ministers visited Pakistan during two tenures of PML-N governments.

Nawaz stressed the need to hold accountable those responsible for bringing the country to its current state, questioning why the nation was treated in a manner contrary to the ideals of any patriotic Pakistani. He emphasised that the country belongs to its people, and future generations.

A day earlier, the PML-N supremo while addressing the fifth parliamentary board meeting of the party said the party was not in pursuit of power, but gave priority to the accountability of those people who were responsible for implicating him in “fabricated” cases that led to his ouster as the prime minister in 2017.

“This [accountability] is necessary so that the truth can be known to the people and justice can prevail,” he said at the meeting.

He was accompanied by his brother and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and his daughter and party’s Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz.

Also present on the occasion was PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah.

Nawaz termed the matter of the £190 million settlement – also known as Al-Qadir Trust case – which also involved former premier Imran Khan, the “biggest corruption scandal in the history of the country”, adding that there was no doubt about it.

Apparently taking a dig at the former PTI chairman, the PML-N supremo claimed that the person who accused others of theft and robbery turned out to be the “biggest thief” himself.

Nawaz said good and bad times were a part of life and the PML-N, despite facing injustices, had not abandoned its patience.

The former three-time premier maintained that he desired to pull Pakistan out of the existing difficulties and bring the country back on the path of progress.

Nawaz advised those who were aspiring to join politics to go ahead with only with the motive to bring the country back on the path of development by taking practical steps. He continued that political aspirants should be committed to change the fate of the country’s people.

Abdul Gh Lone

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