SHORKOT: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday used cricket terms to hit out at his political arch nemesis and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who, he said, lacked ‘sobriety and vision’ required for politics.
“Politics is not a theatre, a one-day or a Test match which creates commotion just for the sake of publicity,” he said while addressing at the groundbreaking of Shorkot-Khanewal section of M-4 Motorway between Multan and Faisalabad.
“Politicking atop a container is never called politics,” he said referring to a purpose-built container the PTI chairman uses to lead protest rallies against the government. “Politics requires sobriety, and sobriety requires vision. And vision teaches us to think before you speak,” he added.
The PTI has already launched an anti-government campaign, demanding accountability of the prime minister and his family members, who, according to the Panama Papers, hold offshore companies in an international tax haven.
The premier said he always picked his words very carefully, contrary to ‘an opposition party’ which used derogatory language. “It also used improper words during its campaign in the recent Azad Kashmir elections but people showed maturity and rejected this dirty politics outright,” he added.
Nawaz claimed the PTI was not getting any support for their much-trumpeted movement and it would meet the same fate as its Islamabad Dharna in August 2014.
People want improvement in all spheres of life, he said, adding that his administration had proved the PML-N was the only party which could bring about a visible positive change in the socioeconomic life. “My government is not fixated on the 2018 general elections but we are seriously utilising all available resources for the next 50 years.”
The prime minister broke ground on the motorway and said the government had saved Rs4 billion of public money from this contract, recalling a ‘historic’ saving of Rs100 billion from the contracts of three LNG-based plants.
Cost escalation of projects from Rs10 billion to Rs50 billion had been a practice in the past that had now been abandoned, he added. Pointing at a briefing chart, he also informed the audience about a countrywide network of motorways being built by his government at a cost of Rs850 billion.
The premier said the previous governments had failed to expand Peshawar-Islamabad-Lahore motorways developed by his government before 1999. “Why these motorways were not expanded? Why only we are taking it forward? Why no one else thought about the road infrastructure? Instead the country was plunged into darkness [by these regimes],” he said, while referring to the energy crisis, which he reiterated his administration would overcome by 2018.
Contrary to the previous notions of Pakistan’s bankruptcy and failure as state, the country’s economy has now seen a turnaround with record high foreign exchange reserves. “Even international institutions and reputed international newspapers and magazines are acknowledging this positive trend,” he added.
Nawaz said the whole country including Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan would benefit from the road network, being built under the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. “CPEC is an unprecedented gift worth $46 billion from China,” he said.
Earlier, National Highway Authority Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar briefed the prime minister on 65-kilometre section of Shorkot-Khanewal Motorway that would be completed within 20 months at a cost Rs22 billion. This road link would provide a shorter and direct connection between Karachi and Gwadar with the north of country.