Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday lamented the current economic crisis plaguing the cash-strapped country and claimed that if it was run on his 1990 economic model, “not a single person would have been unemployed."
Pakistan's economy has been in a free-fall mode for the last many years, bringing untold pressure on the people in the form of double-digit inflation.
In July, the IMF transferred $ 1.2 billion to Pakistan, part of the $ 3 billion bailout programme for nine months to support the government’s efforts to stabilise the country's ailing economy.
Hours after returning to Pakistan, 73-year-old Sharif addressed an immense crowd at Minar-e-Pakistan here on Saturday evening.
The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) supremo lamented that due to the ongoing economic crisis, "one has to decide whether to pay electricity bills or take care of one's children". "People are committing suicide, and borrowing money to pay the bills."
"[During my tenure] the poor had enough financial resources to [at least] to seek healthcare and get themselves treated."
"This didn't start in Shehbaz's tenure. it started way before that. The dollar was out of control, bills were going up, and rates of daily utilities and petrol were also surging."
"During our tenure sugar was 50 rupees per kilogram, today it is at 250."
"This is why you ousted Nawaz Sharif?" the former prime minister said while criticising his disqualification in 2017.
He further stated that if Pakistan was run on his 1990 economic model, “not a single person would have been unemployed, there would be nothing like poverty […] but today, the conditions are so bad that one has to think if they can feed their children or pay electricity bills”.
Sharif also said no one in Pakistan would be unemployed if his party was allowed to continue the "1990s momentum".
"I was ousted because I didn't allow the dollar rate to fluctuate," he said.
Sharif has come back from exile to head his party and try to secure a record fourth term in the general elections expected to be held in January.
The PML-N supremo also waved two copies of electricity bills, which he claimed were from May 2016 and August 2022, and highlighted the exorbitant increase in them. “Was this done by Shehbaz Sharif? I am not defending him, I am presenting facts.”
The former prime minister further added that the country's economic situation was worrying, but he had high hopes.
"I am happy to return home after four years. The cases against me caused damage to the country, and it is in a state of anxiety at the moment. We worsened the situation ourselves and so, will fix it ourselves too," he claimed.
Sharif also said that they are preparing to ensure Pakistan's inclusion in the G20.
"Pakistan was on its way to becoming an Asian tiger, we were preparing to ensure Pakistan's inclusion in the G20," Sharif said.
"A lot of countries which were trailing us are now leading us. We have been left behind. Not only do we have to catch up with those countries but in fact have to surpass them."