Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday once again offered the opposition to sit together and discuss his proposal of “charter of economy” in greater national interest and for the country’s sake.
His statement came a day after President Dr Arif Alvi offered to reach out to both PM Shehbaz and former premier Imran Khan to thaw the political impasse over a spate of thorny issues and find a broad consensus for fresh elections and a charter of economy.
While conditionally offering his good office for mediation, the president also urged political parties to avoid subjecting the military to controversies by dragging it into political thicket, reminding that the institution was the guarantor of the national security.
“Today, as prime minister of Pakistan, I am once again offering the opposition to discuss charter of economy which I had also offered when I was the opposition leader,” Shehbaz said in his address to nation on the eve of country’s 75 Independence Day.
He said that it was the need of the hour as a nation that we move forward in the right direction. “We must not sacrifice the national interest for our personal ego and stubbornness,” he said in an apparent message to former prime minister Imran Khan.
“We must remember that the real political leadership does not focus on elections but on the future of the coming generations.”
The prime minister said that Pakistan faces “ruthless realities that can only be triumphed with national consensus, continuation of policies, and with political and economic stability”.
He added that, “Most importantly, we must reignite the same passion for self-sufficiency and self-confidence which founded Pakistan”.
Shehbaz said that his heart was restless on the 75th Independence Day of the country. “We have to admit with an open heart that we could not give our children what they rightfully deserved,” he added.
The premier said that the nation which was blessed by the Almighty and which had the guidance of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal is left behind today. “We only celebrate such days but we have not adopted the goals for which these days came into being,” he added.
The premier said that Pakistan came into being under Quaid-e-Azam’s leadership and Allama Iqbal’s vision. “Our political leadership took the dream forward. They fought the situation valiantly despite meagre resources. They made institutions and give rise to industrialisation,” he added.
He said that despite very little resources, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto initiated the nuclear programme which was completed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif that has made Pakistan’s defence impenetrable.
The premier said that sons and daughters of the nation brought many glories in sports too, mentioning javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem as an example who recently won gold medal for Pakistan in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“This nation fought terrorism and defeated it successfully. It shows the capability of this nation. But today we face disappointment as seeds of hatred are being sowed,” he added.
PM Shehbaz said that the economic crisis created by the previous government has made things difficult. “I have shown you both sides [of the picture]. But the only way forward is to believe. We have started our journey. In the limited time, we have tried taking Pakistan out of economic crisis. We have managed to save Pakistan from default,” he added.
Shehbaz said that the previous government left the most fiscal deficit in the history of the country. “We had to ask for loans from friendly countries and IMF but I ask if this is real independence,” he questioned, adding that the PTI government took Rs20,000 billion loans during its tenure.
He said that in 2018, the PML-N government left Pakistan self-sufficient on wheat but due to the incapability of the previous government, “we now have to import tonnes of wheat”.
“Under whose direction did the last government shut down CPEC projects? Is this real freedom,” he asked.
He also criticised the PTI government for not undertaking LNG agreements which were available at a cheaper price at that time. “We have restricted imports and the rupee is appreciating as a result of our efforts,” he further said.
Earlier, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb had said that PM Shehbaz will address the nation at 9:15pm tonight.
She made this announcement while using her Twitter handle.
وزیراعظم شہباز شریف (آج) ہفتے کی شب سوا 9 بجے قوم سے خطاب کریں گے۔
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) August 13, 2022
The country is celebrating its 75th Independence Day on Sunday which attained independence following the end of British colonial rule in the sub-continent.
PM Shehbaz is also likely to launch the re-recorded national anthem on Sunday. He is the second elected Prime Minister, after Liaquat Ali Khan, to have this unique honour.
The national anthem has been re-recorded after 68 years, with the participation of 155 singers, 48 musicians and 6 bandmasters. Taking an inclusive, gender-balanced approach, the anthem features vocalists from diverse regional, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, from various religious faiths and musical genres. The brass bands of all three-armed forces also participated in this national effort.
Some of the renowned vocalists singing the re-recorded anthem include Abdullah Qureshi, Bilal Saeed, Fakhir Mehmood, Humaira Javed, Taj Mastani and Umair Jaswal.
PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique shared a teaser of the re-recorded national anthem on Twitter.
The project has been completed in collaboration with various departments including the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and ISPR.
The re-recording of the National Anthem originally began in August 2017, during the previous tenure of PML-N government. Maryam Aurangzeb continued the project when she was appointed as the minister for information and broadcasting in April.