PML-N charts blueprint to deal with challenges


The top leadership of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) took major decisions to take the country out of political, economic and constitutional crisis, which would be shared with the government allies before making them public, two federal ministers said on Friday.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique confirmed that the consultations between a ministerial delegation led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif concluded on Friday.

“The decisions taken in the meetings will now be put before the allies and the stakeholders,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said. “Hopefully, the final decisions will be taken with the consent of the allies in the next 48 hours or by Monday.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz went to London along with a 10-member delegation for talks with the PML-N Quaid, who is in the British capital since November 2019 for medical treatment. For three days, the PML-N leaders held back-to-back meetings to discuss ways to deal with the issues facing the country.

The party leadership said that the focus of the three-day meeting was on the economic situation and how to steer the country out of crisis. They said that the incumbent government was carrying the baggage of the previous government’s poor performance.

Asif said that the coalition government would put their case before the people of Pakistan, adding that the people would be taken into confidence in the next couple of days. “All parties have stakes and all the allies should be onboard,” he added, while clarifying that there was no pressure on the government.

Asif accused the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of committing massive corruption during the last four years, the result of is being faced by the people now. “The people of Pakistan are paying a heavy price of the past four years,” he said.

Asif rejected the notion that there was any deadlock among the coalition, saying that the PML-N was not taking decisions alone because it’s a coalition government and the allies have equal right to participate in the decision making process.

Asif said that former premier Imran was neither faithful to any institution nor to the people of the country. “He is just an egoistic person and slave to his personal interest,” he charged. He said that people of Pakistan would deal with him and everyone else.

The railways minister said that the PML-N leadership wanted to make it clear that those who were talking about “a bloody revolution” in the country would not get such an opportunity and Pakistan would remain peaceful.

“Imran Khan and his supporters will not get any chance of creating the law and order situation in Pakistan,” Khawaja Saad Rafique said, adding that everything would be clear in a few days regarding how to control the situation.

When asked about the discussions in London, Rafique said that the participants deliberated on economic issues facing the country as well as the wounds inflicted upon the nation by the former Imran Khan-led government.

While justifying the London visit by Prime Minister Shehbaz and the cabinet ministers, Rafique said that it was the responsibility of the prime minister and the federal ministers to come to London and brief the party Quaid and seek his guidance on the prevailing crises.

In the lengthy sessions, Rafique said solutions were proposed and agreed that would soon be announced. In addition, the minister revealed that the issue of polarisation in the country and the politics of divide were also discussed.

“First, Imran used the ‘religion card’; then he used ‘corruption card’ and when both of those failed, he started using ‘traitor card’,” Rafique lamented. When asked why the PML-N leadership looked like as if they were cornered, Rafique quipped that “you would see us playing on forward position very soon”.

Talking to the media separately, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah did not rule out the arrest of former premier Imran Khan, saying that the PTI chairman could be arrested in ‘Farah Khan case’ if not in any other cases. The minister added that there were several other cases against Imran.

About the London meetings, the interior minister expressed the hope that the government allies would take the final decision by Sunday (tomorrow) so that the uncertain situation was diffused and stability returns to the markets.

“Efforts are being made to mitigate the ‘toxic effects’ of the decisions taken in the last four years that led to the destruction of the economy, and caused other damages.”

Meanwhile, reports suggested that another round of consultations started in London and an important meeting took place among Prime Minister Shehbaz, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and three times former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on current political situation and future strategies.

The reports said that Abbasi, who was in London, had left for US and then returned to Pakistan after visiting Bahrain and UAE. Later, he reached London and took part in the crucial meetings. Because of the meeting, the reports said, Shehbaz had extended his stay in London for another day.

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