Lahore   -   Admitting that the lives of the people had become difficult due to the rising inflation in the country, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Sunday said that they would’ve preferred “dying” rather than raising the prices of petrol and diesel if there were no fears of Pakistan could default.

“We’re extremely saddened that we have to raise the prices but we also know that people understand why we did it and because of whom,” Maryam said while addressing a public gathering in PP-158 constituency ahead of Lahore by-polls.

“We had to raise the prices of petrol and diesel with a heavy heart. But after raising the prices we did not hide in our homes but Nawaz Sharif instructed me to go to the people and tell them and I understand their problems,” she said.

She blamed former prime minister Imran Khan for the rising inflation in the country, saying that the agreement his government did with the IMF was causing the prices to soar.

“There is no doubt that there is inflation but I swear by God that if there were no fears that Pakistan would default, we would’ve died but never increased the prices,” she added.

Mocking the former premier for his famous ghabrana nahi hai (don’t panic) remarks, Maryam said that she will never make such comments and then hide somewhere. Blaming the PTI government for the several hour-long load-shedding in the country, the PML-N leader said that the PML-N government had resolved the chronic issue but it re-emerged due to the previous incapable rulers.

“Didn’t Nawaz Sharif bring the load-shedding to zero in 2018? What happened in these four years? Now, Shehbaz Sharif has to resolve the issue,” she said and added that the PML-N government has successfully dealt with the problem in the past and will also do it in the future.

Maryam said that Shehbaz Sharif’s staff had told her that the prime minister offers tahajjud prayers then he exercises and after Fajr prayers, and then he serves people. “Imran’s morning begins at 12pm. That is why we are in this state.”

She said that Shehbaz Sharif has strictly ordered that the masses should get wheat, sugar and other commodities in utility stores at cheap rates in abundance. Maryam said that even if the price of petrol is lowered by 1$ in the international market, Shehbaz Sharif will give relief to the people.

She also said that Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz will announce the biggest relief package in the history of Punjab tomorrow.

“Imran Khan has challenged us by messing up everything but Shehbaz Sharif will fix everything,” she maintained.

The PML-N leader said that Imran Khan keeps calling for protests but no one is interested in joining him. “There are more people protesting outside Bani Gala [than his protests].”

She said that Imran Khan says neutrals should be neutrals and at other times he says why don’t they interfere. “This is the first person in Pakistan’s history who openly begs to come back to power.”

She said that Imran Khan’s government was on “support” for four years and when it was removed his government was ousted.

Talking about the alleged leaked audio clip of former first lady Bushra Bibi, Maryam said that ex-PM’s wife used to ask to run traitor trends on Twitter. “She (Bushra Bibi) says in audio clip that if someone asks about my or Farah’s corruption tell them they are traitors,” she added.

Calling Imran Khan “Punjab’s biggest enemy”, Maryam said that criminal negligence during the tenure of the last government stopped the progress of the province.

“Fitna (mischief) Khan has stolen the resources of Punjab. Punjab will never vote for Imran now because it knows Fitna Khan is the biggest hurdle in its progress.”

She said that Farah Khan, a close friend of Bushra Bibi, fled to Dubai after looting the resources of the people of Punjab but the former first lady calls her a “child”.