Shehbaz lists debt as biggest challenge, promises to punish May 9 perpetrators

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday listed external and domestic debt as the biggest challenge for Pakistan and promised to provide relief to farmers and ordinary citizens after gaining the support of 201 National Assembly members.

He also made it clear that those involved in the May violence would have to face justice at every cost and said terrorism resurfaced in Pakistan only because the terrorists were allowed to return and resettle in the country – a reference to the devastating move by the PTI founder during his government.

Those who orchestrated the PTI-led long march in 2014 would be exposed one day, Shehbaz said and questioned why it had again written letter to the IMF, as he censured the party for inviting foreign interference in Pakistan’s affairs.

Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari never acted against Pakistan’s interests, as he blasted the PTI [now in the assemblies under the SIC (Sunni Ittehad Council) banner] for the May 9 violence and the actions related to the IMF affairs.

Nawaz was sentenced on bogus charges and sent into exile, while Zardari raised the slogan of “Pakistan Khappey” [Long Live Pakistan] after assassination of late Benazir Bhutto, he said in a his speech after being elected as prime minister for a second term amid the ruckus created by the SIC members.

He reminded the audience that the PTI carried out the attacks on military installations on May 9 and spread hate against armed forces, adding that they asked the ministers associated with the PTI in two provinces for sabotaging talks with the IMF.

The PTI after coming into power had resorted to political victimisation of political rivals and didn’t even spare the women, Shehbaz said and added that the victims didn’t opted for violence and worked in the interests of Pakistan.

About the no-confidence motion moved against the then PTI government, he said Nawaz, Zardari and other had the choice of saving politics, but they went for rescuing the country without any consideration of political consequences.

Pointing to the noise made by the SIC members in the House, he said Nawaz and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto would always be remembered for their contributions to the country’s development, adding that the rivals were used to baseless criticism when the PML-N carried out development projects across the country.

It was the PTI which promoted the culture of hate and abuse in the society and the process to reverse the trend would take many years, said the prime minister-elect.

Pointing to the SIC members who didn’t stop making kept chanting slogans and making noise during his entire speech, Shehbaz quipped they were wrong if they were waiting for a miracle and remarked that miracles and witchcraft never serve anyone.

The newly-elected prime minister also promised giving rights to women and said women harassment was unacceptable, adding that they would be given wages equal to what their male counterparts get.

About the tax collection, Shehbaz said some mafias were escaping taxations and those paying their taxes would be rewarded, as he criticised the practice of further burdening the existing taxpayers.

Besides protecting the minorities’ rights, he also listed expansion in CPEC and improving relations with brotherly countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE as a top priority of his government. Pakistan won’t be part of any great game, Shehbaz told the House.

Pakistan’s foreign policy will revolve around enhancing trade and ensuring development, he said and added that Islamabad was to pursue a relationship with the neighbouring countries which would be based upon equal terms.

About the federating units, Shehbaz said all the four provinces would be treated equally and mentioned that there was a sense of deprivation in Balochistan.

In this connection, he said they would sit with the Baloch leaders and find a way out to solve all the problems, including that of missing persons.

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