Pakistan News

Blame caretakers if there’s an outage now: Shahbaz

LAHORE: The PML-N has absolved itself of power loadshedding if it recurs after completion of the five-year term of the party’s government on the night of May 31.

It also warned of “massive destruction” if the July polls were not held in a free and fair manner in any respect.

“Today, the power loadshedding is at its minimum though the temperatures peak. But as our government is completing its term tonight, the masses should blame the interim government and not me or (N League supremo) Nawaz Sharif if the power crisis recurs after tomorrow,” PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif cautioned the people, while addressing the last press conference of his tenure as Punjab chief minister here on Thursday.

He said Punjab generated over 5,000MW through its own resources, while the federal government also contributed matching electricity to the national grid, drastically cutting the loadshedding.

Despite the government claims, the industrial sector is facing 10-hour power loadshedding, while the situation in the rural areas of Punjab was even worse.

Answering a query about the upcoming polls, he said: “Democracy will flourish and the country will develop only if the general elections are conducted in a free and fair manner. But, there will be a big destruction if fairness of the exercise is compromised in any manner,” Shahbaz said.

He rejected the Islamabad High Court decision on delimitation of constituencies (in which the Election Commission was asked to review the process in certain districts) as well as the Balochistan Assembly resolution seeking delay in the polls as a bad omen (for democracy).

“The nation wishes a fair and free election process…the masses should be allowed to elect their leaders,” he said.

He told a questioner that all political stakeholders should rise above their personal liking and disliking and hold a dialogue for ensuring that the elections were held in time.

Answering a question about 56 public companies formed by his government in Punjab, Shahbaz reminded him of the three corruption allegations earlier leveled by the PTI chief against him which could not be proved. He said Imran Niazi did not respond even to a single legal notice sent by him in the alleged corruption cases.

He lamented that the PTI chief spent Rs70 billion on establishing an accountability agency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but could not tolerate its first head, a dead honest retired army general. He deplored that now a “personal servant” of the PTI chief was heading the institution in the KP.

In a reference to arrest of some Punjab bureaucrats by NAB, he said the step unnecessarily scared the officials and made them shaky. The same scare, he said, got delayed even liver transplant operations in the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute by months.

Asked which party would be the main challenger to the PML-N in the coming polls, he said the nation had got mature during the last two decades and now the voters would themselves make a comparison of the working of various parties’ governments.

 

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