Khawaja Asif Admits Brief Tenure Could Not Fix Everything

Former defence minister says the jin of inflation has escaped the bottle, and only Nawaz Sharif can control it

Khawaja Asif Admits Brief Tenure Could Not Fix Everything

Former defence minister Khawaja Asif has admitted that the 16-month tenure of the coalition government of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was a struggle to right the wrongs of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and that they were not always successful.

Addressing a news conference in his native Sialkot on Saturday, Asif said that the PTI government, led by former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan, had destroyed the country's economy.

He added that during their tenure, the PDM government tried to right many of those missteps and mistakes. However, they did not have the time to fix everything.

He added that the impending return of the deposed prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif was a step in their commitment to improve the situation.

Projecting that Nawaz will contest and win the upcoming elections to become a prime minister for the fourth time, Asif said that Nawaz will help the country get out of its current crisis.

He added that the party was busy in preparing for its supremo's return to Pakistan after spending four years in exile.

Blaming Imran Khan's PTI for a disastrous tenure that all but bankrupted the country, he said that their brief tenure helped the country avert several economic disasters.

He added that they managed to address many areas where things were poor, but there were also areas where they could not implement fixes.

He compared that during the early parts of Nawaz Sharif's tenure, several essential commodities cost very little. Electricity, he said, cost only Rs11 per unit, which had now ballooned to Rs56 per unit. Similarly, the cost of a US dollar was Rs100, and flat bread cost Rs5. 

Asif claimed that during the last tenure of the PML-N government, some 6.5 million people got jobs while the twin jins of terrorism and acute power shortage were tackled.

History proves that whenever Nawaz came into power, things improved, he said, pointing to how Pakistan declared itself an atomic power under Nawaz. 

He reiterated how Nawaz Sharif was not ousted from power over his indirect inclusion in the Panama Papers but rather for allegedly not taking a salary from his son's company.

The former minister said that while disqualifying him, Nawaz was also robbed of any means to lodge an appeal against the decision.

"Even the worst of criminals are not treated like this," he said.

Asif claimed that the results of the 2018 elections were manipulated by suspending the Results Transmission System (RTS). But the one who was brought into power through manipulation instead turned on them.