PM for reconciliation

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SHOWING grace, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, on Monday, extended an olive branch to his political foes, saying that all differences could be forgotten for the sake of national interest but stressed that one had to swallow personal ego because it always took two to tango.

Addressing a news conference, he referred to the political vendetta of the previous PTI Government against the Sharif family pointing out all energies were used to crush them but the family was ready to make a new beginning for the sake of the country, which is facing an extraordinary situation.

During his press conference, the Prime Minister responded to questions relating to important issues and dilated upon the challenges confronting the country and the need for national reconciliation.

The most striking feature of the media interaction of the Prime Minister was that he was confident that Pakistan would not default, a message that would go a long way in restoring confidence of the investors, business community and people of Pakistan.

He rejected outright the notion that the country faced an imminent default as repeatedly being asserted by the PTI leader, saying that the government was working day and night to handle the economy and providing relief and support to the people.

No doubt, the country is resource starved and needs money not just to pay back the already acquired debt and pay for essential imports but also for the gigantic task of reconstruction in the aftermath of devastating floods which assumes urgency in view of the chilling winter and its impact on the affected people.

According to some estimates, the country suffered losses worth over $30 billion due to floods and it is a foregone conclusion that the country on its own cannot undertake the job with the required speed and timeframe.

The international community has expressed its resolve to help Pakistan rebuild but for that to happen we will have to put our own house in order.

It is surely fruitless to pinpoint accusing fingers towards this or that party for the prevailing economic difficulties but all stakeholders must support those who are making sincere efforts to bring the economy back on track.

IMF loan and conditions are also being blamed for the prevailing situation but one has to realize that the recourse to the IMF was not the decision of the present rulers, rather the package and its conditions were finalized by the previous Government.

The country landed in trouble when the previous regime, faced with the prospects of defeat during no-confidence motion, announced several measures in breach of the understanding reached with the IMF.

This created problems for the country and also for the new Government as the Fund fully exploited the vulnerabilities of the country and added new conditions for the resumption of the aid.

Now both the IMF and some friendly countries are willing to extend necessary assistance to Pakistan but the uncertain situation is sending wrong signals to the international community.

In this backdrop, the need for reconciliation assumes greater significance and hopefully the political opponents of the Government would review their existing strategy and come to the negotiating table to sort out differences.

As pointed out by veteran politician Ch.Shujaat Hussain, dissolution of Punjab and KP Assemblies as threatened by PTI would plunge the country into further uncertainty and chaos and, therefore, must be avoided.

Imran Khan recently said that his party would win the next general elections with a thumping majority, no matter whenever they are held.

This being so, why he is showing indecent haste for fresh elections just a few months ahead of schedule, especially when such a recourse would harm economic interests of the country.

The Prime Minister confirmed that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met with President Arif Alvi with his permission when issues pertaining to general elections, dissolution of assemblies and economic challenges of the country were discussed.

It is better that instead of indulging in acts that could deepen the economic crisis, PTI should seriously listen to the advice of its well wishers to return to the National Assembly and play its due role as the opposition party.

Its return to Parliament would pave the way for meaningful discussion and settlement of several important issues before the next general election.