Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif has said that nobody including the government has courage to stop the proposed long march of the party and demanded immediate holding of elections to take the country out of the mess created by the rulers.
He pointed out that machinery of one power plant was lying at Karachi port while that of another has been dumped at Chicho ki Malian. If these plants had been made operational, 1100MW of electricity could have been added to the system. He said the sugar mills would provide 2500MW while if the circular debt issue is resolved, the load shedding crisis would immediately be over.
He said their protest against load shedding, price hike, unemployment and corruption goes on and non implementation of court verdicts have been added to the protest.
Nawaz Sharif said that if the government was not implementing the orders of the Supreme Court, it should lock down all the state institutions. He said the prime minister has made a mockery of his office and no one expects something good from the incumbent rulers and people want to get rid of them as soon as possible. He said democracy cannot succeed when institutions are not respected. He stressed that the whole struggle of his party is aimed at ensuring the rule of law.
He said he has no personal grudge against Mr Gilani, however he cannot compromise on principles as any deal with the ruling party would be an injustice to the nation.
The PML-N president said it would be a matter of shame for the nation if NATO supplies were restored without an apology and an end to drone strikes.
Replying to a question, Nawaz Sharif said the government got more loans than in the past 60 years and questioned as to who would pay back this huge money. He asked the government to show just one major project that it has implemented in the last four years. He lamented that Pakistan has been left behind all the neighboring countries.
Nawaz strongly opposed increase in the tenure of the Assembly saying there was no justification for it. He said extension in the assembly tenure could be done only if God forbid there was any emergency or the country has been hit by some major natural calamity.
Asked if he would accept elections when Mr Asif Ali Zardari will be president, Nawaz Sharif said every one must respect the 20th amendment in the constitution and warned that if an attempt was made to bulldoze it, people would once again loose faith in elections. He said the Chief Election Commissioner must be appointed in consultation between the prime minister and leader of the opposition. Similarly, other contentious issues should be settled through the process of consultation.
To a question about reference to NAB by the interior minister for reopening of cases against him, the PML-N chief said the government was upset and looking for every means to pressurize the opposition. He said he has not received any notice as yet and as and when received, he would take a decision.
He rejected the impression that establishment was opposed to the PML-N and pointed out that Musharraf did try for that but could not succeed.
He said the PML-N contacted the PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami before taking a decision about the long march. He said they responded that the party should first resign from the assemblies.
Nawaz Sharif said it would be unwise to resign from the assemblies because that would give a free hand to the government and people would be denied of whatever little bit they were getting. He said if the opposition resigned, those giving this suggestion would complain tomorrow that elections were not free because a partisan person would be appointed Chief Election Commissioner in the absence of the opposition.
Without naming anybody, Nawaz Sharif made it clear that those who conspired against the party would not be taken back in its fold.