Shehbaz Sharif seeks national dialogue for new social contract

  • I shall say no foul words about Zaeem Qadri as we can again meet sometime: Former CM Punjab

LAHORE – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President underlined the need for national dialogue to evolve a new social contract for meeting the challenges being faced by the country.

“I am ready to open this dialogue for a new social contract. Our country needs such a dialogue. Let us forget and forgive and move forward failing which coming generation will not forgive us,” he said in an interview to a private news channel late Friday.

“If this country has to move forward, it can only be through a consultation process and not the confrontation. Confrontation is not an option as it will further indulge us in internal issues. We are facing numerous challenges that need collective approach,” he added.

Answering a question about his notion of national government, he said, he did not mean a national government if a hung parliament emerges after general election.

“What I mean is, if our party gains simple majority to form the government, I shall take other parties along to evolve national consensus on important issues.”

In this context, he said, Pakistan has problems with India and Afghanistan. It has challenges in economy, debt and energy sector that needs broader consultation and collective wisdom of all the stakeholders.

“If this country has to prosper, then we shall have to move forward with consensus” he said and added that we have to unite on major issues and so should be our narrative as this is the only way out to address our problems.

He called for an impartial accountability and said elections in such an environment would not enjoy confidence of people.

“There are other people who indulged in rampant corruption during last ten years but no visible action is seen against them.”

He claimed to have saved Rs 682 billion in various projects through transparency and taking action against those involved in corruption. To this extent, he mentioned the name of Waseem Ajmal, CEO Saaf Paani project, against whom an FIR was registered by the Punjab Anti-Corruption Department.

“Now he is trying to become dear to investigators, framing cases against us. Let the voters decide about future government. Let a free and conducive environment be there for election contenders.”

He questioned as to why those responsible for Nandipur and Chiniot projects and number of other projects were not nabbed.

To a question about Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, he said, he and the party had a long association with Chaudhry Nisar. But, as he had not applied for a ticket his name was not considered by the board.

“But, I had persuaded Nawaz Sharif to award ticket to Chaudhry Nisar prior to former’s departure to London. We do not want to prolong bitterness.”

About the health of Kulsoom Nawaz, he said nation should pray for her. “She is also a Pakistani and we should think above the personal interests for welfare of the country.”

Shehbaz Sharif said if there is any proof of corruption against anyone, action should be taken across the board.

About Zaeem Qadri, he said, the disencahnted member is also our long standing companion and was awarded ticket for provincial assembly, but he opted for a different stance.

“But, I shall say no foul words about him. We can again meet sometime.”

Replying to a question, he said the PML-N government overcame load shedding, eliminated menace of terrorism and restored peace in Karachi with political and collective wisdom and these were big achievements of the government during its five years of the constitutional tenure.

He said 10,000 megawatt electricity had been added to the national grid which was exemplary.

“We launched four gas plants and generated 5,000 megawatt electricity and saved Rs 160 billion.”

He said cheap electricity and export were playing important role in strengthening the national economy. There was a dire need to enhance export, foreign reserves and remittance for stability of the country.