Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in his first address to the nation as the PM, spoke about economic challenges facing the country. He said that the decision to increase petrol prices was a tough one, but added that this step was inevitable.
The PM announced a Rs.28 billion relief package under which Rs. 2000 will be given to 1 Crore 40 lakh deserving households.
“The previous government announced subsidies which the national exchequer could not even afford,” he said.
He thanked the coalition partners for their support, adding that it was the decision of the people of Pakistan that the previous government had to go home. “We responded to the nation’s call,” he said, adding that his government assumed charge as per the Constitution and not through unconstitutional means.
The PM also noted that polarisation in politics was increased after a ‘dangerous lie’ about an alleged foreign conspiracy was spread [by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)]. “Our ambassador to the US as well as the National Security Committee denied these claims, yet a man [Imran Khan] continues to peddle this lie,” he said.
Shehbaz Sharif called for an end to this polarisation and said that difference of opinion should not result in enmity.
Without directly naming Imran Khan, the PM stated that the country would be run in accordance to the Constitution and not as per the wishes of an individual. Shehbaz Sharif also said that during Nawaz Sharif’s previous government, ‘the same man’ sabotaged Pakistan’s interest by staging a dharna [in 2014].
“The previous government has been deliberately hiding the facts,” he said.
Addressing the previous government of PTI, he said: “You made an agreement with IMF and accepted their tough conditions, not us. You pushed the nation towards poverty, not us. You buried the country under the worst debt.”
Sharif further said that the previous government brought back load-shedding and undid economic achievements made by the previous governments. When we assumed power, the economy was in the worst state, he said.