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‘It is either London or jail for Shehbaz’

Information minister says country’s economic situation will improve by September

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Friday said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif was left with only two options: either to go to London or jail.

Talking to the media, he said the Lahore High Court (LHC) had been requested to conduct day-to-day hearing of Shehbaz Sharif’s case so that it could be concluded at the earliest. He said the media should analyse the witnesses and evidence by covering the LHC proceedings and evaluate whether Shehbaz Sharif was involved in money laundering or not, instead of giving coverage to Shehbaz Sharif’s claims or remarks.

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The minister said Shehbaz should not worry, as the country was moving in the right direction, and that the people fully supported Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government. He said the opposition was in a state of confusion, as first it claimed that Nawaz Sharif was returning to the country on his own; however when the government offered them that it would bring him (Nawaz) back, they backed off.

To a question, he said the previous regimes of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari damaged the national economy by getting huge loans, due to which the government now had to pay off these loans of $55 billion in the next two years. It has to take loans to return the previous loans, he added. Today, even after paying off huge amounts in loans, Pakistan’s economic situation was still stable and growing, he asserted.

To another query, Fawad said the opposition’s central leadership had been absconding; so how the government could hold talks with them, adding that Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz should engage in national politics but they did not want to do so.

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“The PPP had always played the Sindh card instead of strengthening the federation. Now the Sindh government has deprived the province’s population of Sehat card,” he said, and added that the PPP leadership was afraid of its own workers and was unable to face them. He said the PPP had become unpopular due to its leadership’s negative policies. That was why it could not organise a public gathering even on a 10-marla space, he added.

He said that victory and defeat were part of the electoral process, and the political leaders were answerable to people about their political efforts and commitments, adding that the PTI won elections in Sialkot and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Earlier, the minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan had once again expressed his commitment to the people of the country and pledged to make Pakistan a welfare state based on the principles of Riyasat-e-Madina. He said that the corrupt era of previous governments had ended in Pakistan, as a people-centric government was now working to put the country on the path of progress and prosperity.

He said the opposition’s central leadership did not attend the National Assembly’s proceedings while they claimed that 29 members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had contacted the PML-N. But, in fact, the whole opposition members were in contact with the PTI and even the PML-N members did not oppose the Supplementary Finance Bill, he added.

Fawad said it was an irony that PML-N leader and former defence minister Khawaja Asif, who was employed in an organisation in Saudi Arabia and getting salary, was telling the PTI government about the threats and challenges to national security and integrity.

The minister said that the value of rupee against US dollar strengthened after presentation of the finance bill, which would further help in reducing inflation during the next three to four months, as international factors causing inflation, including commodities and energy products, had shown a downward trend.

He said that owing to the solid policies of the government, a significant improvement in Pakistan’s economic situation would be observed until August or September.


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