ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday, in his farewell address to the National Assembly, expressed heartfelt gratitude to a diverse array of political parties, underscoring their pivotal support and guidance during the challenging term of 16 months.
Just hours before sending advice to President Dr Arif Alvi for the dissolution of the National Assembly, the prime minister told the House that the 16-month tenure was the shortest ever period for a government particularly when compared to the plethora of issues inherited from the previous regime. He said besides other unsuitable conditions, the coalition government also had to face other massive challenges like the worst floods and the signing of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) deal which was breached by the previous government to hurt national integrity.
He said through its poor conduct and episodes like the “cipher drama” the previous government undermined foreign relations, including with the United States, besides carrying out defamatory propaganda against political opponents. “This is the painful story of the previous government’s four years… During our 16 months, the incumbent government did not victimise anyone. Today, if a party leader has been punished, we are in no way happy over that. One should have the fear of Allah. There is no question of distribution of sweets (to rejoice the punishment),” he remarked.
Reiterating the condemnation of the May 9 arson, the prime minister said it would be remembered as the Black Day in history as it marked the “worst conspiracy” against the state of Pakistan, the Pakistan Army and Chief of Army Staff, as well as those who sacrificed their lives to safeguard the nation. He said the House should again take notice of that heart-wrenching incident and also pass another resolution to condemn it.
Prime Minister Shehbaz told the House that he would send the advice for National Assembly’s dissolution on Wednesday night. He said that he would meet Opposition Leader Raja Riaz to hold a consultation to finalise the name of the interim prime minister. “These 16 months were the toughest trial of my life during my 38 years of political career when the country was faced with inflation, skyrocketing oil prices, and political turmoil. Who will invest when there will be threats for long marches?” he questioned.
He said with the signing of IMF agreement, the risk for default had ebbed away, despite the evil designs of those who tried to sabotage the process.
He said the country was steered out of turmoil as a mechanism in the form of SIFC had been put in place to boost investment in agriculture, information technology, mining and exports sectors. The prime minister paid tribute to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and expressed gratitude PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif and all of the political leaders from both the ruling coalition and opposition parties for their support and guidance. (APP)