Addressing his first campaign rally since his homecoming on Oct. 21, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Nawaz Sharif on Thursday recalled past glories, including ending loadshedding and eradicating terrorism during his last tenure.
Pointing to the motorway, he reminded his supporters that his government had built it, increasing connectivity and reducing travel times between major cities. Thanking the people of Hafizabad for supporting him, he claimed he had never seen such a large crowd in the city.
Reiterating his lamentations over the prevailing state of the national economy, Sharif regretted that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s policies had triggered massive inflation and severely reduced the value of the Pakistani rupee. “If I hadn’t been arrested repeatedly, involved in fake cases, and ousted from government, Pakistan would have reached new heights by this point,” he maintained, adding the country’s progress was hampered by repeated interventions.
Asserting that prosperity would return to the country and Hafizabad, he said it was his “duty” to raise the city’s standing to that of Punjab capital Lahore. “There should be no difference between Hafizabad and Lahore,” he added.
“My mission is to ensure Pakistan and its citizens can stand on their feet,” he added.
Taking the stage after him, Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz thanked the crowd, crediting them for helping her ensure her father had returned to Pakistan after four years in self-exile. Taking potshots at the PTI, she said the PMLN was the “party of May 28”—when Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons—and not that of May 9—when PTI supporters staged riots following the arrest of party founder Imran Khan.
Also recalling the successes of Sharif’s last tenure in government, she reiterated that loadshedding was reduced, terrorism was curbed, and inflation brought to single digits. “These days, Nawaz Sharif’s primary focus is on figuring out how to reduce inflation, reduce electricity bills for the public, provide laptops and jobs to the youth, and increase road networks,” she said. “The PMLN is currently planning how to construct schools, hospitals and universities in every city of the country,” she said, stressing the man who encouraged unrest—a reference to Imran Khan—was not acting for the benefit of the public.
“Our aim is to provide free electricity to all those who consume less than 200 units per month,” she said, adding the party also wanted to provide solar panels to reduce pressure on the national grid. She concluded her speech by urging the public to vote in large numbers for Nawaz to help the country return to its past prosperity.