‘Reconciliation, not confrontation’: PM marks one year in power | The Express Tribune

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the federal coalition taking the reins of power and said the new political era of post-April 2022 will be of  “reconciliation and cooperation, and not confrontation and vendetta”.

Holding out an olive branch to the PTI, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had urged the premier yesterday (Monday) to initiate ‘unconditional’ talks with the opposition, as “the door for talks should never be closed in politics”.

“The prime minister has the authority to initiate talks. I will request PM Shehbaz Sharif to hold talks with the opposition,” Zardari said while addressing a joint session of parliament on Monday.

The PPP co-chairman, who served as the country’s 11th president from 2008 to 2013, also advised the opposition, the PTI, not to set any preconditions for talks.

Zardari’s offer came as PTI senior leader Fawad Fawad Chaudhry had praised the PPP for passing a resolution stating that it did not want to become party to the campaign to malign judges and asserting that political parties did not block negotiations.

The remarks also come as the country’s top institutions butt heads with political, economic and constitutional crises all raising the specter of instability.

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The federal government is seriously evaluating the PTI leaders’ desire to initiate negotiations on national issues, especially the conducting of the general elections.

Notably, there is bad blood between the government and the PTI but matters went from bad to worse after Imran Khan’s ouster last April.

PM Shehbaz’s year in office

Marking a year since he took oath as the premier, the premier reflected on the developments and achievements of his government in a series of tweets.

“This has been a time of massive challenges and difficulties,” he admitted as he celebrated the passage of the vote of no-confidence against Imran’s government as “unprecedented”.

The move he maintained was significant “not because PDM came into power but because almost all of Pakistan’s political forces came together to use the forum of Parliament to vote out an unpopular govt through constitutional means”.

“The coming together of political parties with different manifestos for a common national cause represents a major step forward in the country’s political evolution,” he stressed.

“Reconciliation and cooperation, not confrontation and vendetta mark the new politics post-April ’22,” said Shehbaz.

In the same breath, however, PM Shehbaz took a dig at Imran’s previous government and its economic policies.

“Despite the economic landmines laid by Imran Khan and disruptions in global fuel and food supply lines, Pakistan’s economy has continued to stay afloat,” he said highlighting that “all predictions of default have turned out to be false alarms.”

“Sincere efforts are underway to revive the economy,” the PM assured.

Continuing his attack on the previous government, PM Shehbaz said that the “coalition government has been at pains to repair, rebuild and deepen Pakistan’s diplomatic relations that were dealt a severe blow by the Niazi [PTI] regime.”

“I can inform people that over the last one year, we have largely succeeded in establishing Pakistan’s credibility as a partner and friend,” he said.

The premier also noted that the devastation caused by the “unprecedented floods” the country saw last year was controlled primarily due to the efforts of his government.

“The decisiveness with which the government undertook rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts, provided social protection to millions of people and mobilised the international community has been acknowledged by the world as outstanding.

“The government employed climate diplomacy to present Pakistan’s case on the international stage,” he said.

“As Chair of G77 plus China, we were instrumental in the establishment of the loss and damage fund. Pledges of $9 billion at the Geneva moot are evidence of our successful diplomacy.

“In the last one year, we have made efforts to diversify the energy mix with an aim to provide relief to the citizens.

“The renewed focus on solar, hydel, and coal power projects is aimed at replacing the costlier sources of power generation with cheaper ones,” he said.

He also said that “inflation has hit people hard globally”.

He drew attention to the shifts in “geo-strategic rivalries, increase in prices of fuel and food commodities” as well as the “historic floods” faced by the country as some of the key factors responsible for the spike in inflation.

“Mindful of its impact, the government has expanded the social safety net and provided targeted subsidies,” he maintained.

PM Shehbaz also took the opportunity to grant credit to the country’s military leadership alongside ministerial efforts in helping push Pakistan off the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) watchlist as a major feat.

“Under the watch of the PDM government, Pakistan managed to exit the FATF grey list, thanks to the excellent inter-ministerial coordination as well as support extended by our military leadership.

“It was a long journey but sustained efforts made it possible,” he said.

Finally, the PM also noted that since its inception, the government has shared a commitment to building infrastructure and improving public transport.

“The idea was to provide ease, comfort and affordable mobility to the people of Pakistan,” he said.

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