Lahore (Web Desk): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif on Saturday stressed the need for mending relations with Pakistan's neoghbours including India, Afghanistan and Iran.
Addressing the PML-N's parliamentary board meeting in Lahore, the former prime minister observed that the country cannot expect to be taken seriously on a global stage if neighbouring countries were upset with it.
"We have to fix our affairs with India and Afghanistan as well, while strengthen them further with Iran and China," he asserted.
Hinting at the Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government's tenure, he noted that attempts were made to "sabotage" the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after his government.
The PML-N chief acknowledged that the nation has faced significant challenges over the past four years. He reflected on the "positive period" in 2017 when he served as the prime minister, highlighting "robust development".
"During our time, the economy was better and development was at its peak. We still pray that the country is steered out of difficulties," the PML-N supremo said.
However, he expressed disappointment that the momentum of development was disrupted by certain individuals, hindering Pakistan's prosperity.
Nawaz attributed the current inflation to economic mismanagement that began during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) government in 2019, with a substantial decline observed in 2022 by the time Shahbaz Sharif, his brother, assumed power.
Urging the party leaders to “note when it started being mismanaged”, he said it started in 2019 and till 2022, when his brother and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif became the prime minister, “everything” had receded.
Lamenting the country's reins being "handed over to an incompetent person", the former premier emphasised that despite "PML-N's contributions in various fields such as economy, defense, and foreign affairs", his government was repeatedly ousted from power.
"Had Shahbaz Sharif not taken charge, the country would have defaulted," Nawaz Sharif said.
Reflecting on his past expulsions in 1993 and 1999, Nawaz questioned, "Was it because we managed things properly that we were ousted? Was it because we opposed the Kargil war? A decision that turned out to be correct over time," he added.
Nawaz Sharif highlighted the PML-N's "commitment to national security", including conducting nuclear tests under pressure. The PML-N supremo mentioned that two Indian prime ministers visited Pakistan during two tenures of PML-N governments.
The former premier stressed the need to hold accountable those responsible for bringing the country to its current state, questioning why the nation was treated in a manner contrary to the ideals of any patriotic Pakistani. He emphasised that the country belongs to its people, and future generations.
A day earlier, the PML-N supremo while addressing the fifth parliamentary board meeting of the party said the party was not in pursuit of power, but gave priority to the accountability of those people who were responsible for implicating him in “fabricated” cases that led to his ouster as the prime minister in 2017.
“Those who have brought the country to this point, they should also be held accountable. They should be asked how you meted out such treatment with this country," he said.
The PML-N supremo maintained that he desired to pull Pakistan out of the existing difficulties and bring the country back on the path of progress.