Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addressed the nation on Saturday night, the eve of Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day, and renewed his offer of a charter of economy.
“It is the need of time that we as a nation continue our course in the right direction and don’t allow national interest to be sacrificed at the altar of personal ego and stubbornness.” The prime minister said the government had committed itself to taking the country on the path of economic independence, adding that a “conception of freedom” without the former was impossible.
Shehbaz credited the government’s economic policies, such as clamping down on unnecessary imports, for the rupee’s continuous appreciation against the US dollar. “By adopting austerity, we will depend on our own resources like self-independent nations.” He said the government had “worked hard day and night” to take the country out of the current economic crisis in a short time, because of which the country was saved from financial default.
The premier blamed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s economic policies and decisions for much of the country’s woes, adding that it left the country’s biggest trade deficit in history for which loans had to be taken from allied nations and international financial institutions. “Is this real freedom?”
He alleged the previous government’s created financial crisis had made the situation more “critical”. “It’s almost as if financial dependence has become our national character which our elders would never even have envisioned,” Shehbaz added. Regarding the country celebrating 75 years of independence, the prime minister paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for Pakistan’s establishment and congratulated every Pakistani around the world. However, he said the “reality” was that the people had only celebrated Independence Day in name for the last 75 years, instead of adopting its “real aims”.
He said Pakistanis enthusiastically and with great joy celebrate the Independence Day of their country and the anniversaries of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal, adding, “today we have to accept the truth with open heart that we cannot give to our younger generation, what it truly deserved.”
He said Pakistani nation was bestowed with great blessings of Allah and it was guided by the life of Quaid-i-Azam and thoughts of Allama Iqbal. He asked why such a nation was still striving to find its destination and subject to various crises, foremost being the economic crisis. The prime minister said the country also faced a crisis of sentiments, explaining that “seeds of hate” were being sown and the nation was being divided. Despite that, he said the country’s past was filled with examples of pulling through with hard work and passion, such as the establishment of Pakistan or the completion of the nation’s nuclear programme.
The prime minister said the Pakistanis were known for their passion, character and hard work and the best manifestation of these characteristics was the creation of Pakistan. He also pointed to the recent success of Pakistani athletes in the Commonwealth Games for raising the country’s banner high on the international stage. Shehbaz stressed that hope and optimism were the only options to follow, adding that there were opportunities in every crisis.
Pakistan was created with passion aroused by Allama Iqbal in the nation. Then Quaid-i-Azam changed the dream into a reality of Pakistan, he added. He said development of the nation was carried out by the democratic leadership of Pakistan through political and constitutional struggle by facing the facts and acting with sagacity. The leadership overcame the economic and multiple challenges with patience, steadfastness and wisdom, he remarked. In his last address to the nation on July 14, the premier had announced a cut in fuel prices. He had reserved special praises for Finance Minister Miftah Ismail for his part in reviving the loan facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but hoped that the current deal would be the last one. He also saluted the innumerable Pakistanis who sacrificed their lives for Pakistan and felicitated Pakistanis across the world on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day of Pakistan.