Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday vowed not to bow before the dictations of ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan and made it clear that only the National Assembly, no one else, would decide the timing of the election.
âI want to make it clear to the head of this gang that none of his dictation will be accepted. This House will decide when to hold fair election,â the prime minister said while addressing the National Assembly, hours after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan ended his Long March here, giving the government a six-day deadline to announce a fresh election.
The prime minister said if the PTI was merely concerned about the election, they should have come to the parliament.
âImran Niazi should not have any misunderstanding. There are 14 months (to complete the parliamentâs term). We are open to talks. Dialogue is the trait of politicians. I can constitute a committee. But, if you think you will pressurize, blackmail or threaten us to leave the government, keep in mind, we will not bow before your pressure or dictation,â he reiterated.
He pointed out that there had been numerous challenges and said the coalition government would try its utmost to steer the country out of the issues it had inherited from the previous government.
Lamenting the riots and destruction caused by the participants of the PTI Long March, the prime minister said the House should choose between the course of development or destruction.
Drawing a comparison between the economic growth of the two neighboring countries, he said in 1990s India copied Pakistanâs economic strategy and excelled with its IT exports touching $200 billion against $1.5 billion of Pakistan.
He said the protestors, who carried weapons to the federal capital, also damaged infrastructure here and burnt down the trees despite the party claiming to be the champion of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami.
He also condemned the killing of a police constable in Lahore, sympathized with the grieved family and announced an assistance package for the policemen who were martyred or injured in the line of their duty.
He said instead of showing some compassion to the widow or orphaned children of the martyred police constable, the PTI leader taunted him.
Calling it a 126-day theatre, the prime minister said the PTIâs sit-in in 2014 had not only impacted the national economy but also claimed the lives of some security personnel.
He informed the House that the law enforcement agencies showed maximum restraint to control the situation only by using teargas or rubber bullets. The government also called in the army troops to aid the civilian setup, he added.
He also lauded the performance of the Islamabad Police, Rangers, FC, Islamabad Traffic Police and other departments to protect the lives and properties of the people.
The prime minister said the PTI Long March, which was led by Imran Khan from Peshawar and accompanied by KPK chief minister, was in fact an attack on the Federation which could not be allowed in any civilized society.
The prime minister said after the nation sacrificed thousands of lives and left many others disabled, the slogan of jihad was raised in Peshawar by the PTI.
âToday, the slogans of jihad were raised in Peshawar. Jihad against whom? The nation needs an answer. They used the religion for personal gains which the House should condemn through a resolution to avert the recurrence of such incidentsâ he added.
He said despite the dearth of resources, the previous government reduced the oil prices, leaving behind a âlandmineâ for the incumbent government.
The prime minister said during the last three and half years, the PTI leadership did nothing to support the poor, closed PKLI, and ended free medical treatment of hepatitis patients.
âDoes it require any more evidence to believe that he is an enemy of Pakistan,â he remarked.
The prime minister also questioned the PTI leader as to why he announced a long march on May 25 despite knowing that it coincided with the sentencing of Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik by an Indian court.
He said the House was unanimous to condemn the life sentence to Yasin Malik by an Indian court and shared the grief of his family, besides reiterating Pakistanâs stance to continue the supporting of people of Kashmir for their right to self-determination.
He recalled the PTIâs sit-in of 2014 when the institutions including Pakistan Television was attacked and caused the postponement of Chinese President Xi Jinping which also delayed the signing of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor for seven months.
âHow long this drama will continue? How long this disturbed nation will tolerate it,â he questioned adding the country could not afford the history of the 2014 sit-in to be repeated.
He said Chinese firm, executing Karot Hydropower project, had agreed to provide free electricity to the national grid till the finalization of the Commercial Operations Date which would save Rs 4 billion to the national kitty.
He said the previous government wasted three and half years in mere attacking the national institutions including the judiciary and hurling allegations ignoring the sufferings of the people.