Struggle not against Imran Khan but those who brought him into power: Nawaz Sharif
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Sunday, while addressing the much-hyped PPP-hosted multiparty conference in Islamabad, said that the opposition's struggle was not against Prime Minister Imran Khan but those who brought him into power through the 2018 elections.
He was addressing the conference, aimed at devising a strategy to oust the PTI-led coalition government, via video link from London. The speech marked the deposed prime minister's political comeback after more than a year. He has been in the UK since November last year for medical treatment.
"Our foremost priority should be removing this selected government and this system. Our struggle is not against Imran Khan," said Nawaz. "Today, our struggle is against those who installed Imran Khan and who manipulated elections to bring an incapable man like him into power and thus, destroyed the country."
"If change is not brought, it will bring irreversible loss to this country. It is very important that our armed forces stay away from our governmental system according to our Constitution and the Quaid's speech, and not interfere with the people's choice. We have made this country a joke in our own eyes and internationally as well."
Prior to a recess for lunch, the speakers - PML-N's Nawaz t Imran
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and Shehbaz Sharif and PPP's Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari - were united in underscoring the "need for a plan of action". The opposition, however, has yet to announce what it is. Nawaz started by thanking PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for hosting the conference as well as Zardari, saying he would not forget the love with which the former president spoke to him a day earlier.
"I am thankful to the organisers of the conference for giving me the opportunity to talk. Even though I am away from my country, I know very well what condition the country and the people are in. I believe this is a decisive turn; it is necessary to protect democracy [...] and take fearless decisions."
In an all-encompassing speech, which centred on criticising the Imran Khan-led government, Nawaz spoke on the "poor state" of Pakistan's economy, "deteriorating" international relations, "muzzling" of media and "corruption within the PTI and Bani Gala".
"The country's leader keeps harping on about accountability but he himself is involved in raising sugar prices. Will no reference be filed against him?"
He also repeated the opposition's allegation that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), with the connivance of PTI, was carrying out only "selective accountability".
'Democracy in danger'
"If we don't do it [take a step] today, when will we?" asked Nawaz. "I agree with Maulana [Fazlur Rehman, chief of JUI-F] that we need to make this conference purposeful or people will be disappointed.
"Pakistan has been constantly deprived of a democratic system [...] When the vote is dishonoured, the entire democratic system becomes meaningless. When it is decided before the election process as to who will win and who will lose, then it can be guessed how the public is betrayed and how the public's mandate is stolen."